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em, or southeastern, is the preference, the southern next, the northern third and the western last.
The White Burley tobacco is planted to some extent in Virginia, Tennessee, Missouri, Maryland, West Virginia, Indiana, Ohio and Arkansas, but it usually fails, when planted outside of the blue limestone soils of its native habitat, to attain the excellence that makes it desirable. The farmers of each district often, after fruitless experiments, return to the cultivation of that type which has made each district famous. Some excellent Burley tobacco is produced on the freestone soils of West Virginia, with pebbly subsoils covered with humus.
The central basin of Tennessee, of which Nashville is the center, by reason of its blue limestone soils, which have the same geological and lithological character as those in the White Burley district of Kentucky, presents the most promising field for the extension of the culture of this most desirable product. Some is already grown in Trousdale, Wilson, Smith, and a part of Mason, in the upper Cumberland river tobacco district, in Tennessee, and in several of the counties in the same tobacco district in Kentucky.
Two Varieties of White Burley.—There are two sub-varieties of White Burley now grown in Kentucky. The old variety (Plate VII, Page 40) has a pale green, or greenish-white color, and the leaves grow very closely together on the stalk. It is also much ruffled, that is, the leaves at the junction with the stalk have a ruffle, which passes sometimes entirely around the stalk.
The other sub-variety (Plate IX, Page 48) is not so pale in color, but it shows the white veins while growing. The leaves are more pointed and do not grow so closely together on the stalk. This sub-variety is more hardy and less easily damaged by weather conditions, either in the field, or after it has been put in the barn. It furnishes more ping fillers also than the old variety. The new variety has but little ruffle, thus affording fewer hiding places for the worms. It is not so sensitive to the heat of the sun, or to house burn. It will also cure with fewer green leaves or spots.
Preparation of the Land.— In the bluegrass regions of Kentucky, where the White Burley is now very extensively grown, the preparation of the land for the crop is begun in the winter, from January to March. Two methods of breaking are practiced: One with a plow having a "skimmer" attached just in front of the subsoiler. The "skimmer" reverses a slice of sod some ten inches wide and two inches thick, and the subsoiler throws four or five inches of soil on top of the reversed sod. The second way is to turn the sod under with a two-horse plow to the depth of eight inches.
About the middle of April, a revolving disc harrow is run over the land, cutting the sods to pieces. This is followed by a slab drag, which is made of three or four pieces of timber, fastened at intervals of a foot, or more, with chains, so as to be flexible. This slab drag smooths the ground and pulverizes all the clods. The land is then marked off, from three feet eight inches to three feet ten inches, one way only, with an implement made for the purpose, which makes three marks at once. These marks are about three inches wide, and about two or three inches deep. They are made with a piece ox scantling two inches thick, the front being armed with a sharpened piece of iron slightly flanged backward. The plants are set on the edge of these marks, at a distance varying from 18 to 27 inches, the less distance being used for growing cutting tobacco. Hills are seldom made in the White Burley district, except by a few Germans, who live in Mason county, Kentucky. In that county, about one-fifth of the area planted in tobacco is fresh land, which makes the very best cutting tobacco.
Fertilization and Rotation.—It is a very rare thing for fertilizers, or manure, to be used anywhere in the White Burley districts. One planter says he never uses manure if he "can possibly avoid it," for the tobacco product is much better when grown without it, having more elasticity and other desirable qualities. Sometimes, though rarely, a little manure is spread over the land before it is harrowed. Tobacco stalks and trash from the barns are preferred to any other fertilizer for tobacco, and impair its qualities less.
The tobacco crop is usually followed by wheat sown in the fall, and upon this timothy is sown immediately, and red clover in the following spring. The land is allowed to remain in timothy and clover for several years before it is planted again in tobacco. The timothy "eats out" the clover in about two years, and the bluegrass takes the timothy in about four years. When well sodded with bluegrass, the soil is again prepared for another crop of tobacco.
On new land, two crops of tobacco are grown in two successive years. After the first crop of tobacco is taken off, the land is sown to rye, which is allowed to grow without pasturing, until the following April. The rye is then turned under with a skimmer and subsoiler, or only with a turning plow, like the bluegrass sod. After the land has produced two crops of tobacco, wheat and timothy are sown immediately after the tobacco is housed, and clover the following spring. After the expiration of three years, another crop of tobacco is grown. After the third crop, the rotation is like that given for old band.
Tobacco plants are usually set after a shower, but if the rains are tardy, or insufficient, the plants are set out in the afternoons and watered. The Bemis planter, (Fig. 23) is in common use in the bluegrass section, by the large planters. From one and a half to two acres may be set out in an afternoon with three hands—two to drop plants and one to drive the team. A few days after the plants are set out, the ground near them is scraped with hoes. When the plant is established, a bull-tongue cultivator is run six times in the space between the rows. Every week after this the land is plowed with double-shovel cultivators until the period for topping approaches. Some planters plow deep; others shallow, as their judgments may determine. But little difference is observed in the product, whether the plowing is shallow or deep. The work of tillage should be directed to keeping the crop clean. During this period the tobacco is usually hoed twice, a little dirt being drawn to the plants at each hoeing. There are B few small farmers who throw the dirt to the plants with a one-horse turning plow, leaving a deep furrow between the rows. This method of cultivating, however, is almost abandoned.
Care of the Growing Crop.—When the first buttons, or seed buds, appear, the cultivation should cease, and the work of topping begin. From 16 to 20 leaves are left on each plant. White Burley is never primed before topping, and when it is desired to grow a cutting tobacco, the plants are topped much higher than when a filler is to be produced. High topping and close planting produce cutters; low topping and longer distances between the plants make a filler of good body and excellent flavor, and wrappers of great strength of fiber. It is best to top just as soon as there is a sufficient number of leaves on the stalk. It is better, however, to let a few plants bloom, if, by so doing, a large proportion of the plants in the field may be topped at the same time. All plants in the same field should be topped in the same week, even though some of the plants be topped to six leaves. This rule is founded upon the intelligent experience of the best planters in the White Burley district. The tobacco should be wormed at least once a week (see chapter on Pests). If the weather is very wet, the tobacco will have to be
FTtJ. 101. WHITE HURLEY PLANT NOT PRIMED.
This plant was Brown at the Kentucky experiment station, under the same conditions as the typical plant of thi< variety shown in Plate IX. it was not properly primed, so the bottom leaves rest nearly on the ground and are small in size. The plant wa« four and one-fourth feet high, with a spread of four feet, heIntr slhrhtlv wilted when photographed. The top leaf was 2fi inches long and 10 wide, middle le.ir v,rn inches. It will he seen that the leaves are even larger than those in Plate IX. elvIne a larsrer welcrht per acre, but the amount of unmerchantable leaf is much larger, the quality usually not as good, and the tobacco will not sell as well as when the tobacco is properly primed.
suckered three times. The suckers should never be allowed to grow longer than three inches.
Harvesting.—From four to five weeks after topping, the tobacco should be fully ripe. The plants are then