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CATALOGUE OF THOROUGHBRED STOCK.
Baron of Grass Hill, 18,965.
CONTRIBUTION TO THE CHEMISTRY OF THE AMERICAN
BY PROFESSOR C. A. GOESSMANN.
The question, whether a systematic and rational manuring of our fruit-bearing plants is essential for the continued production of good crops, engages of late, deservedly, our increased attention. It seems but reasonable to assume, that the same practice which • has been recognized as indispensable for success in generalagriculture ought to apply with equal force to the operations in fruitculture, and horticulture in general. Modern rational agriculture bases its claim of superior progress, as compared with preceding periods, on the recognition and application of the principle, that it is essential for the continued success of its industry to return to the soil those substances which the crops abstract. It has been one of the principal occupations of numerous scientific investigators of agricultural problems, during the past thirty years, to prove the existence of these relations, and to study how to comply best with their requirements in an economical manner. Most of our common farm-crops have received, from the beginning, an undivided and careful attention : their composition has been ascertained, and their action on the soil thereby established. In many instances their peculiar mode of growth has been studied, to learn in what form the various manures are best applied in cases of different kinds of soil. Nobody familiar with the results of the investigations of late gears can fail to notice their extraordinary influence on the progress of agricultural practice. The same statement cannot be made with reference to fruit-culture and horticulture. Experiment-stations for the benefit of these branches of agriculture are but few, and these, in the majority of instances, of a very recent date. Superior skill and intelligence have been largely engaged in the promotion of their interests from an exclusively botanical Bland-point ; while the peculiar intricacy of the subject, the growing of plants with a view of producing crops with reference to a certain quality rather than to mere quantity, may account, to some extent at least, for the comparatively limited practical interest, which, until of late, most horticulturists have manifested in trying chemistry as an assistant in their industry.
There is no scarcity of valuable observations regarding an exceptionally good success in producing fruits by the aid of various kinds of fertilizers ; yet it is no less well recognized, that but little satisfactory explanation can be given as to the particular relations which exist between the composition or the quality of the fruit, and certain constituents and the condition of the fertilizer used. The chemical composition of the majority of fruits is but imperfectly known. The question, whether the ash-constituents of the fruit bear more than a mere incidental relation to the quality, is still largely a matter of conjecture, which derives its main support from the fact, that the ash-constituents of a few of our cultivated varieties for instance, in the case of the strawberry -— have been found widely differing, in regard to quantity and to quality, from those found in the wild forms from which they have originated. No important inferences have thus far been drawn from these observations.
Numerous careful inquiries into the composition of many of our farm-crops have shown that the total amount of the mineral or ash-constituents of one and the same variety of plant may vary widely in different specimens, when raised upon different soils, or under otherwise varying conditions of cultivation.
Experimental observation has thus far failed to prove the existence of any definite numerical relation between the total quantity of the essential mineral or ash-constituents, and of the entire dry organic matter of plants. We have learned that certain, and, comparatively speaking, but a few mineral elements are essential for the complete development of plants; yet we have only very vague notions regarding their peculiar mode of action in the process of vegetable growth. While we are ignorant, thus, of the peculiar mode in which these mineral constituents assist in the formation of organic matter, we have noticed, in the case of some of our most important industrial farm-crops, that a more or less liberal supply of certain essential articles of plant-food, as potassa, nitrogen, &c., quite frequently exerts a remarkable influence on the general character of the quality of the crops resulting, as far as the relative proportion of some of their proximate organic constituents, as albuminoids, starch, or sugar, is concerned.
Even the peculiar form in which potassa, &c., have been applied, is known to exert, in many instances, a decided influence on the larger or smaller production of one or the other organic constituents of plants. The recent history concerning the safest modes of rais