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while organic, or animal and vegetable, manures, (especially when applied, as is usual, in an incompletely fermented condition,) absolutely require fresh supplies of atmospheric air, to continue the decomposition which alone can prepare them for their proper effect on vegeta. lion.
If kept saturated with water, so that the air is excluded, animal manures lie nearly inert, and vegetable matters decompose but incompletely,-yielding acids which are injurious to vegetation, and which would not be formed in the presence of a sufficient supply of air. An instance is cited by H. Wauer where sheep dung was preserved, for five years, by excessive moisture, which kept it from the air. If the soil be saturated with water in the spring, and, in summer, (by the compacting of its surface, which is caused by evaporation,) be closed against the entrance of air, manures will be but slowly decomposed, and will act but imperfectly on the crop,-if, on the other hand, a complete system of drainage be adopted, manures, and the roots which have been left in the ground by the previous crop,) will be readily decomposed, and will exercise their full influence on the soil, and on the plants growing in it.
Again, manures are more or less effective, in proportion as they are more or less thoroughly mixed with the soil In an undrained, retentive soil, it is not often possible to attain that perfect tilth, which is best suited for a proper admixture, and which is easily given after thorougb draining.
The soil must be regarded as the laboratory in which nature, during the season of growth, is carrying on those hidden, but indispensable chemical separations, combinations, and re-combinations, by which the earth is made to bear its fruits, and to sustain its myriad life. The chief demand of this laboratory is for free ventilation The
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raw material for the work is at hand,—as well in the wet soil as in the dry; but the door is sealed, the damper is closed, and only a stray whiff of air can, now and then, gain entrance,-only enough to commence an analysis, or a combination, which is choked off when half complete, leaving food for sorrel, but making none for grass. We must throw open door and window, draw away the water in which all is immersed, let in the air, with its all destroying, and, therefore, all re-creating oxygen, and leavo the forces of nature's beneficent chemistry free play, deep down in the ground. Then may we hope for the full benefit of the fertilizing matters which our good soil contains, and for the full effect of the manures which we add.
With our land thoroughly improved, as has been described, we may carry on the operations of farming with as much certainty of success, and with as great immunity from the ill effects of unfavorable weather, as can be ex. pected in any business, whose results depend on such a variety of circumstances. We shall have substituted cer. tainty for chance, as far as it is in our power to do so, and shall have made farming an art, rather than a venture.
NOTE.—(Third edition.) As indicated in the note to the third edition at the end of Chapter I, the expression above-"the forces of nature's beneficient chemistry," should probably read—“the development of bacteria, nature's beneficent agent of final decomposition.”
There is reason to suppose that bacterial action is much less energetic “deep down in the ground" than quite near the surface. Certain it is that manurial matters to be subjected to the action of these organisms should not be placed so deep in the ground as to be out of the tolerably easy reach of atmospheric air.
HOW TO GO TO WORK TO LAY OUT A SYSTEM OF
• How to lay out the drains; where to place the outlet; where to locate the main collecting lines; how to arrange the laterals which are to take the water from the soil and deliver it at the mains; how deep to 'go; at what intervals; what fall to give; and what sizes of tile to use, these are all questions of great importance to one who is about to drain land.
On the proper adjustment of these points, depend the economy and effectiveness of the work. Time and attention given to them, before commencing actual operations, will prevent waste and avoid failure. Any person of ordinary intelligence may qualify himself to lay out under-draing and to superintend their construction,—but the knowl. edge which is required does not come by nature. Those who have not the time for the necessary study and practice to make a plan for draining their land, will find it economical to employ an engineer for the purpose. In this era of railroad building, there is hardly a county in America which has not a practical surveyor, who may easily qualify himself, by a study of the principles and directions herein set forth, to lay out an economical plan for draining any ordinary agricultural land, to stake the lines, and to determine the grade of the drains, and the sizes of tile with which they should be furnished.
Ou this subject Mr. Gisborne says: “If we should give " a stimulus to amateur draining, we shall do a great deal " of harm. We wish we could publish a list of the moneys w which have been squandered in the last 40 years in amateur
draining, either ineffectually or with very imperfect effi“ ciency. Our own name would be inscribed in the list for a “very respectable sum. Every thoughtless squire suppcoes " that, with the aid of his ignorant bailiff, he can effect a per. “ fect drainage of his estate; but there is a worse man behind “ the squire and the bailiff,—the draining conjuror. * * “* * * * These fellows never go direct about their “ work. If they attack a spring, they try to circumvent “ it by some circuitous route. They never can learn that “nature shows you the weakest point, and that you should “ assist her,--that hit him straight in the eye is as good a “maxim in draining as in pugilism. * * * * * * “ If you wish to drain, we recommend you to take advice. “We have disposed of the quack, but there is a faculty, “not numerous but extending, and whose extension ap. “pears to 18 to be indispensable to the satisfactory “ progress of improvements by draining,-a faculty of “ draining engineers. If we wanted a profession for a lad “ who showed any congenial talent, we would bring him “ up to be a draining engineer.” He then proceeds to speak of his own experience in the matter, and shows that, after more than thirty years of intelligent practice, he employed Mr. Josiah Parkes to lay out and superintend bis work, and thus effected a saving, (after paying all professional charges,) of fully twelve per cent, on the cost of the draining, which was, at the same time, better executed than any that he had previously done.
It is probable that, in nearly all amateur draining, the unnecessary frequency of the lateral drains; the extravagant size of the pipes used; and the number of ureless angles which result from an unskillful arrangement, would amount to an expense equal to ten times the cost of the
proper superintendence, to say nothing of the imperfect manner in which the work is executed. A common im. pression seems to prevail, that if a 2-inch pipe is good, a 3-inch pipe must be better, and that, generally, if draining is worth doing at all, it is worth overdoing; while the great importance of having perfectly fitting connections is not readily perceived. The general result is, that most of the tile-draining in this country has been too expensive for economy, and too careless for lasting efficiency.
It is proposed to give, in this chapter, as complete a description of the preliminary engineering of draining as can be concentrated within a few pages, and a hope is en. tertained, that it will, at least, convey an idea of the importance of giving a full measure of thought and inge nuity to the maturing of the plan, before the execution of the work is commenced. “Farming upon paper" has never been held in high repute, but draining upon paper is less a subject for objection. With a good map of the farm, showing the comparative levels of outlet, bill, dale, and plain, and the sizes and boundaries of the different inclosures, a profitable winter may be passed,—with pencil and rubber,-in deciding on a plan which will do the required work with the least possible length of drain, and which will require the least possible extra deep cutting; and in so arranging the main drains as to require the smallest possible amount of the larger and more costly pipes; or, if only a part of the farm is to be drained dur. ing the coming season, in so arranging the work that it will dovetail nicely with future operations. A mistake in actual work is costly, and, (being buried under the ground,) is not easily detected, while errors in drawing upon paper are always obvious, and are remedied without cost.
For the purpose of illustrating the various processes connected with the laying out of a system of drainage, the mode of operating on a field of ten acres will be de