XII. CULTIVATED CROPS - ROOT CROPS (cont.)
Crops Analogous to Drilled Root Crops - Introduction. Cabbage.
There are several crops which, under a strict classification, should be noticed among forage crops rather than here, but which, in an agricultural point of view, are so closely analogous to drilled root crops that we regard this as the suitable place in which to notice them.
On strong rich soils large crops of very nutritious food for sheep or cattle, and of a kind very acceptable to them are obtained from the field culture of the Drumhead cabbage. A seed-bed is prepared in a garden, orchard, or other sheltered situation, about the second week in August, either by sowing in rows 12 inches apart, and thinning the plants about 3 inches in the rows, or broadcast in beds. As early in spring as the land on which the crop is to be grown is dry enough for being worked, let it be thoroughly and deeply stirred by one or more turns of thee grubber. Assuming that a liberal dressing of dung has been put into it at the autumn ploughing, 3 or 4 cwt. of guano are now scattered evenly over the surface and ploughed in by a deep square furrow. A lot of plants being brought from the seed-bed, a band of planters, each provided with a dibble and a piece of rod 27 inches apart every way, and can afterwards be kept clean by horse and hand hoeing like any other drilled green crop. Cabbages are much in repute with breeders of rams and prize sheep, which fatten rapidly on this food. Cabbages are usually drawn off and given to sheep on their pastures, or to cattle in byres and yards; but they are also fed off, where they grow, by sheep, in the same way as turnips. It is an exhausting crop when wholly drawn off, and on this account is sometimes grown with advantage on spots greatly enriched by irrigation with sewage or otherwise, and where the succeeding grain crop is expected to suffer from over-luxuriance, the cabbages being grown, as the phrase goes, to "take the shine out of it." In fvourable circumstances, from 30 to 40 tons per acre of this nutritious crop may be obtained. From what has been said it is evidently not adapted for extensive field culture; but on most farms a few acres might be grown annually with great advantage. It is a peculiarly suitable food for either sheep or cattle during the autumnal transition from grass to turnips.
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