XII. CULTIVATED CROPS - ROOT CROPS (cont.)
Crops Analogous to Drilled Root Crops (cont.) - Rape. Kohl-Rabi.
This plant is peculiarly adapted for peaty soils, and is accordingly a favourite crop in the fen lands of England, and on recently reclaimed mosses and moors elsewhere. Its growth is greatly stimulated by the ashes resulting from the practice of paring and burning. In these cases it is sown broadcast; but when such soils are brought into a regular course of tillage, it is drilled, and otherwise treated in the same manner as turnips. As we shall consider its culture under the head of "Oil-producing Plants" (chap. Xiv. Sec.5), we shall only say further here, that its highly nutritious leaves and stems are usually consumed by folding sheep upon it where it grows, and that there is no green food upon which they fatten faster. Occasionally it is carried to the homestead, and used with other forage in carrying out the system of soiling cattle.
This plant has been frequently recommended to the notice of farmers of late years. Like mangold, it is better adapted than the turnip fo strong soils and dry and warm climates. It may be either sown on drills in the same manner as the turnip, or sown in a seed-bed and afterwards transplanted. The latter plan is expensive, if it is desired to cultivate the crops to any extent; but is commendable for providing a supply of plants to make good deficiencies in the rows of other crops, or when a small quantity only is wanted. By sowing a plot of ground in March in some sheltered corner, and transplanting the crop early in May, it is more likely to prosper than in any other way. Cattle and sheep are fond of it, and it is said not to impart any unpleasant flavour to milk. We have seen a few trials of it in Scotland as a field crop; but, from whatever cause, the weight of food produced per acre was greatly less than from the mangolds and Swedes growing alongside of it. For further information about this plant, the reader is referred to the Book of the Farm, vol. ii. P. 87; Hewlett Daviss Farming Essays, p. 90; Lawsons Synopsis of the Vegetable Products of Scotland, div. ii. P. 109. Lawson says that the pulp or flesh of kohl has the same taste as the leaves of the cabbage, and hence its adaptation as food for milch cows.
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