|Clover in Full Blossom|
Ploughing Under Clover
The venerable John Johnston, of Geneva, who is now eighty-four years old, and who says he thinks the average of all his wheat crops would be not less than twenty-eight bushels per acre, while he has raised, many times, over thirty-five bushels, and occasionally forty-two bushels, thinks it indispensable to success in wheat-growing to plough under clover.
It may seem at first an absurd project to attempt to improve land by ploughing into it what has just grown out of it. If the clover drew all its nourishment from the land alone, this would be true. The clover, however, has the property f drawing large quantities of nitrogen from the air which are stored for the use of the grain crop following, which can absorb nitrogen only by its roots. Clover, then, is to be regarded as the cheapest known source of nitrogen and organic matter, carbon, &c., but it cannot restore to exhausted land either potash or phosphates; and if our land is deficient in these essentials, we must add them to the clover before we can expect a good yield of grain. In New York this has not yet proved necessary, as the clover alone, with such manure as could be easily obtained, has been able to maintain the fertility of the land, under judicious rotation, for scores of years. Experience may prove that we may need in addition to use some potash and phosphate. Now, the potash can be had cheaply in the German potash slabs, and super phosphate can be prepared of good quality so as to be sold at $25 per ton, if it were not mixed with any nitrogenous manure. It is the nitrogen that cots, and which can be cheaply supplied by the farmer himself by ploughing under clover. The manufacturer of so-called super phosphate generally mixes some nitrogenous compound with the super phosphate at a cost which the farmer can ill afford to pay, even if he gets an honestly-mixed article—the purpose of the manufacturer being to get a manure which will produce a visible and immediate effect upon foilage when applied to farm crops. The farmer can buy his nitrogen, by ploughing in clover, at a price with which no trader can ever possibly compete, with the additional advantage of loosening the soil by the decomposing vegetable matter. The clover should be ploughed under when in full blossom. If the land will produce two crops, the first may be cut for hay, and the second ploughed under for manure.
[Thomas’s Farmer's Almanac]
Clover as a Green Manure
Why don’t you sow more clover? Both science and practice dictate the more frequent use of clover as a green crop to be ploughed in for the use of subsequent crops. It is not a very expensive mode of fertilizing land. So let us try it, and do it thoroughly. Use plaster freely to induce a heavy growth, and then resist the temptation to cut and cure the crop for hay, plough it in when in full bloom, and follow it with some grain crop, watching the result.
[Thomas’s Farmer's Almanac]