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yellow hue, which indicates maturity, anticipates the beginning of August, and sometimes the harvesting begins the first week in July, and the crop is gathered and cured before the first cuttings are made in the more westerly districts. This is regarded as an advantage, as it lessens the liability of damage from worms and droughts, or from excessive rains. Professor Kerr was of the opinion that at least one-half of the cotton area of the Champaign districts in the States of Virginia and North Carolina is adapted to the growth of yellow tobacco.
The Midland district of North Carolina and Virginia, lying to the west of the Champaign districts, is where the industry originated, and where the product reached its highest perfection and won its most brilliant triumphs. In North Carolina, the counties in the Midland district best known for produc- Fi°-1W- Basket For Carbyino Plants. ing this tobacco are Caswell, Person, Granville, Vance, Orange, Durham, Alamance, Guilford, Rockingham. Stokes, Forsyth and Surry. Two counties in Virginia, Halifax and Pittsylvania, have also won a well-merited distinction for growing yellow tobacco.
All this region is hilly, often rough, having numerous rivers, fed by hundreds of tributaries, cutting down through the soft, crumbling strata to a depth varying from 50 to 200 feet below the summits of the ridges that separate the streams. A very small portion of the soil of this entire district is adapted to the growth of yellow tobacco. The best tobacco lands are found on the tops of the ridges, where there is a gray, sandy or gravelly soil, with a cream-colored subsoil of a sandy material. The favorable indications and conditions that promise success are good drainage, an open texture of the soil, a freedom from the oxides of iron, a forest growth of stunted oaks, "bald face Spanish oaks," white oaks and post oaks—with old field pines, chinquapin, huckleberry, dogwood, scrub, hickory, persimmon, sourwood and other natural growth, such as broom sedge, poverty grass and small green briers, that betray a lean or impoverished soil. All these are the vegetable flags of sterility, and the forerunners of success for the yellow tobacco grower in that district.
Such places are called by the inhabitants "pea ridges," "chinquapin ridges" and "huckleberry ridges." Wheat, oats, or corn planted upon such soil will rarely reproduce the seed. All the soils in the Midland districts are sedentary, with the exception of the triassic and alluvial, that is, they have been formed by the crumbling down of the underlying rocks, and the constituent elements of the rocks are for the most part identical with those of the resulting soils. Where the trap rocks come to the surface, the soils are reddish in color, due to the presence of the oxides of iron. Such soils are fatal to the growth of yellow tobacco.
So controlling is the character of the soil, that one part of a farm may produce the very finest grades of tobacco found in the market, and another part will grow the commonest article. The writer examined a large tobacco farm in Granville county upon which the very highest priced tobacco was produced. On one part of the farm only, and that the most sterile, was any attempt made to produce the yellow tobacco. Where the soil was derived from the gneisses, quartzites, light colored feldspathic rocks and dove-colored slates, tobacco in its highest perfection and greatest beauty was grown, but no grain, no vegetables, no fruits. Where the soil was the result of the decomposition of the trappoid rocks, and reddish in color, wheat, rye, corn and potatoes were grown, with generous yields, but no tobacco was planted, except for the purpose of growing a heavy shipping leaf.
An analysis of the tobacco soil taken from this farm shows organic and vegetable matter, 1.205; silicic anhydride, 93.50; ferric oxide, 0.2675; alumina, 2.496; manganous oxide, 0.0417: lime, 0.233; magnesia, 0.0847; potash, 0.5045; soda, 0.2892; phosphoric anhydride, 0.0379; aulphuric anhydride 0.0140. The soil geologically comes from the oldest known geological formation, the Archean. The field from which the sample of soil was taken for analysis had been used for tobacco six years in succession, but was previously an "old field" that had been exhausted by cultivation and had been allowed to lie untilled for some fourteen years previous to being used for tobacco. It is possible that the very small amount of organic and volatile matter reported was due to the application of small quantities of stable manure every year. Practically, this so-called soil is nothing but a porous sponge of sandy material, destitute almost of every element that supports vegetable life.
PREPARATION OF THE LAND.
The light grayish, sandy soil, with a yellowish, clayey or sandy subsoil, being selected, preference is given in nearly all the yellow-tobacco-growing districts to new lands, or rather to old fields that have grown up in pines and chinquapin bushes and cleared a second time. In Granville county, North Carolina, in the South Carolina tobacco districts, and in Halifax county, Virginia, the best farmers, however, prefer old lands, upon which some grain or grass crop had been grown the previous year. The rotation with tobacco in the South Carolina and in the Champaign district of North Carolina, is cow peas, clover, or grass, tobacco being put on the same land every third year. Tobacco is often put in after an oat crop and also after hog weeds. It seems to be a conclusion, reached after much experimentation, that pine, or wheat straw, or coarse mold from the forest, plowed under in the fall, will cause tobacco to ripen yellow on the hill. Old land makes the heaviest product; new land the brightest tobacco.
If old land is selected, it is broken in the fall with a two-horse turning plow and rebroken with a single plow in the spring, often applying all the manure that can be raked up about the farmyard. This second plowing should only be half as deep as the first. In South Carolina, where very handsome yellow tobacco is now produced, the practice, after breaking in the fall, is
to lay off the ground in January, or early in February, in rows three feet six inches in width, and then distribute the manure in these rows, covering it lightly. About the middle of April run a furrow in the same place where the manure was distributed, and drill from 600 to 800 pounds of some good fertilizer to the acre. Throw two furrows on this open row. When the time for setting the tobacco arrives, drag the beds down with a log and pat places 30 inches apart where the plants are to be set.
In North Carolina, just before the plants are large enough to set out, the land is either rebroken and harrowed, or plowed with cultivators, and then harrowed until it becomes well pulverized. After this it is laid off into rows three and one-quarter, or three and onehalf, feet apart, and in these rows about 75 bushels of stable manure, and from 2o0 to 800 pounds of some good commercial fertilizers, are distributed per acre. The fertilizers used are highly ammoniated guano, or superphosphates of lime, containing about eight per cent of phosphoric acid, three per cent of ammonia, and three per cent of potash. It is believed that too much potash will cause small, white specks ("frog eye") to appear on the leaves. Upon this fertilized row two furrows are thrown, making a ridge. Over this ridge a drag is run, leveling it down to the general level of the surface of the ground. Shallow rows are run at right angles to these decapitated ridges, and the land is ready for planting. In East Tennessee, the rows are run off from three to three and one-half feet, and the hills made from a- l> 18 inches to three feet in the row. riQ 106 The hills align only one way and are Hooks On Lath. made over the fertilizers dropped in the row. In parts of Virginia, the practice is to throw four furrows instead of two on the fertilized row. This wide bed is then cut off and patted at intervals of two feet ten inches, the patted spots indicating the places for setting the plants. Tobacco set out with the plants aligning only in one direction can be plowed in one way only.
The planting and cultivation of the crop and the worming and suckering are done in the same manner, or with but little variation, that has already been described in the chapter on heavy shipping tobacco. In South Carolina, the planting begins about the 10th of April, in North Carolina and Virginia, from the 1st of May to the 10th, and the season continues until the 10th of June. In some parts of East Tennessee, notably Hamblen county, tobacco planted on new lands is not plowed in cultivating it, but simply hoed twice.