1902 Encyclopedia > Agriculture > Horse Hoes. Turnip Thinners.

(Part 23)


Horse Hoes. Turnip Thinners.

Horse Hoes

It has already been remarked that the great inducement to sow grain and green crops in rows is that hoeing may be resorted to , for the double purpose of ridding them of weeds and stimulating their growth by frequent stirring of the soil. It is now upwards of a century since Jethro Tull demonstrated, in his books and on his fields, the facility with which horse-power could be thus employed. His system was early adopted in regard to turnips, and led, as we have seen, to a complete revolution in the practice of agriculture. The peculiar manner in which he applied his system to grain crops, and the principles on which he grounded his practice have hitherto been for the most part repudiated by agriculturists, who have thoughts its indispensable to drill their grain at intervals so narrow as to admit, as was supposed, of the use of the had-hoe only. But the accuracy with which corn-drills perform their work has been skillfully taken advantage of, and we now have horse-hoes, covering the same breadth as the drill, which can be worked with perfect safety in intervals of but seven inches’ width. By such machine, and the labour of a pair of horse, two men, and a boy, ten acres of corn can be hoed in as many hours. Not only is the work done at a fifth of the expense of hand-hoeing, and far more effectually, but it is practicable in localities and at seasons in which hand-labour cannot be obtained.

Garrett’s horse-hoe is admitted to be the best implement of its kind. It can be used for hoeing either beans, turnips, or corn, as the hoes can be adapted to suit any width betwixt rows, and the axle-tree being movable at both ends, the wheels, too, can be shifted so as to be kept between the rows of plants. The shafts can be attached to any part of the frame to avoid injury to the crops by the treading of the horses. Each hoe works on a lever independent of the others, and can be loaded with different weights, on the same principle as the coulters of the corn-drill, to accommodate it to uneven surfaces and varying degrees of hard ness in the soil.

A great variety of implements, under the general names of horse-hoes, scufflers, scrapers, or drill-grubbers, fitted for the draught of one horse, and to operate on one drill at a time, is in use in those parts of the country where roots crops are chiefly sown on ridgelets from 24 to 30 inches apart. With considerable diversity of form and efficiency, they in general have these features in common viz., provision for being set so to work at varying widths and depths, and for being armed either with hoes or tines, accordingly as it is wished to pare the surface or stir the soil more deeply. A miniature Norwegian harrow is sometimes attached to drill-grubbers, by which weeds are detached from the soil, and the surface leveled and pulverized more thoroughly. Tennant’s grubber, with its tines set close together, and two horses yoked to it abreast by a tree long enough to allow them to walk in the drills on either side of that operated upon, is the most effective implement for cultivating between the rows of beans potatoes, turnips, or mangolds, that we have yet seen used for this purpose.

Turnip Thinners

It sometimes happens, as when drought prevails while the earlier sowings of turnips or mangold are made, and this is fallowed by copious rains and forcing weather, that the farmer finds it impracticable to get the thinning-out of the seedlings overtaken as fast as is needful. To aid him in such emergencies, a class of machines has been brought out, of which Huckvale’s turnip-thinner may be named as a type,. They are very favorably reported of by those who have used them. Such machines, drawn by one horse, and made to operate upon either one or two rows of young turnips plants, have first a paring apparatus, which clears off weeds from the sides of the rows, and along with this a set of revolving hoes by which gaps are cut in the rows of turnip plants, and tufts of them are left standing at any required distance apart. This does not dispense with the after use of the hand-hoe or fingers to effect a perfect singling of the plants; but as a large space can be gone over in a day at small cost, it enables the farmer to save his crop from getting overgrown and choked until he can overtake the more perfect thinning of it. The next class that claims attention is.

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