« AnteriorContinuar »
ghums, rape, and all kinds of garden vegetables and strawberries. It is, of course, better adapted to short than to long rotations, because of the limited duration of the life of the plants.
The length of the rotation will, of course, depend upon various contingencies. Frequently, the clover is cropped or pastured but one season following the year on which the seed was sown, whatsoever the character of the crops that precede or follow it, but in more instances, probably, it is used as crop or pasture for two years. When timothy is sown along with this clover the pasturing or cropping may continue for one or more seasons longer before the ground is broken, but in such instances the timothy will have consumed much or all of the nitrogen put into the soil by the clover, save what has escaped in the drainage water. One of the best rotations in which to sow mammoth clover, as also the medium red, is the following: Sow in a nurse crop of rye, wheat, oats or barley, as the case may be, in order that it may be pastured or cut for hay the following season, and then follow with a crop of corn or potatoes. This in turn is followed by one or another of the small grains. This constitutes a three years' rotation, but in the case of mammoth clover it is frequently lengthened to four years. The year following the sowing of the clover, it is cut for hay or for seed, and the next year it is pastured with or without a top-dressing of farmyard manure. This rotation meets with considerable favor in certain areas of Wisconsin, well adapted to the growth of the plant.
Preparing the Soil. —The preparation of the soil called for by the mammoth clover is virtually the same as that required when preparing a seed-bed for the medium red variety. (See page 74.) Clay loam soils, whatsoever their color, cannot easily be made too fine and smooth, and the same is true of sandy loams. Stiff clays should be made so fine as to contain ample loose mold to germinate the seed readily, and yet they ought not to be made so fine that they will readily run together under the influence of a soaking rain. Usually, such soils are seldom made too fine, but sometimes they are. The aim should be to firm sandy soils, especially when light enough to lift with the wind, and to leave them more or less uneven on the surface when the seed is sown.
In many States the ground should be plowed in the fall for spring sowing, and in yet others it should be plowed in the spring. Conditions of soil and climate govern this feature of the work. Usually, however, the longer the soil is plowed and then properly worked on the surface before receiving the seed, the finer, cleaner, firmer and moister it is likely to be, and the larger the store of the available fertility to promote the growth of the young plants. Because of this, after cultivated crops, the ground is not usually plowed or otherwise stirred on the surface.
When the soil is low in fertility, it may be necessary to fertilize it before a crop of mammoth clover can be successfully grown. For such fertilization, farmyard manure is very suitable. When soils are low
in the content of humus, before a good crop of clover can be grown, it may be necessary to supply humus. But few soils are so deficient in fertility that they will not grow clover if supplied with humus. Farmyard manure supplies both humus and fertility, but in its absence, a crop of rye buried in the soil will insure a stand of clover. In other instances it may be necessary to follow with some kind of a crop that has much power to gather plant food, as corn of some hardy variety, and to graze or otherwise feed it from the land.
Sowing. —Much of what has been said about the sowing of medium red clover will apply also to the sowing of mammoth clover. East of the Mississippi and north of the Potomac and Ohio rivers, mammoth clover is usually sown in the spring, and for the reason that the young plants are frequently killed by the severity of the winter weather when sown in the autumn. But when sown at that season, the seed being mixed with winter rye and being deposited by the drill as early as September ist, the plants frequently survive the winter as far north as Marquette County in Wisconsin. The rye in the line of the drill marks provides a sufficient protection for the clover. But this only occurs where the conditions are eminently favorable to the growth of the clover. Around Puget Sound it may also be sown with advantage in the early autumn, as then it should produce a full crop the next season, and the same is true of nearly all the Rocky Mountain valley region, but in these areas it may also be sown in the spring. Between the Mississippi and the Rocky Mountains and Oklahoma and Canada, spring sowing is usually preferable, and in much of the area is an absolute necessity to insure a stand. In the South the seed may be sown fall or spring; which season is to be preferred should be determined chiefly by the character of the soil. On soil much given to heaving in the winter it is usually preferable to sow in the spring. In all, or nearly all, parts of Canada spring sowing only is admissible.
When the seed is sown in the early spring, it should usually be sown quite early, as early, in fact, as the ground is in condition to receive the seed when the nurse crop has been sown the previous autumn. When the ground is smooth and impacted on the surface, it is considered preferable to defer sowing until the ground is dry enough to admit of covering the seed with the harrow. When deposited at the same time as spring-sown nurse crops, and with these, the time of sowing will be determined by the most suitable time for sowing the nurse crop. This plant may be sown under certain conditions as late in the spring as moisture exists in the soil sufficient to produce vigorous germination in the seed. This means that it may be sown as late as June, if sown alone, and even later. When sown thus late it should be on soil that has been well cleaned near the surface. When sown in the autumn, as with medium red clover, the aim should be to put the seed in as early as the arrival of the autumn rains, that the plants may be well rooted before the arrival of freezing weather.
Ordinarily, mammoth clover, like the medium red,
im red close the articomoted befor
is sown with a nurse crop, whether sown fall or spring. (See page 84.) The nurse crops in the North include winter rye, winter wheat, barley, spring wheat and oats, suitable, probably, in the order named, also such pasture crops as rape, vetches, and various mixtures of grain sown on certain soils to provide pasture for cattle, sheep or swine. The best nurse crops in the South include winter rye, winter barley and winter oats, even though the seed should not be sown on them until the spring. On certain sandy loam soils a stand of mammoth clover is more assured if sown with a pasture crop than if sown with a grain crop which is to mature. (See page 82.) Under certain conditions of soil and climate, this crop may be sown on plowed or disked land in certain of the States, after a crop of grain, and in other instances by sowing amid the stubbles and covering with the harrow. But there is more of hazard in growing thus than by other methods. Sometimes this clover is sown anid standing corn, at the last cultivation, but too much shade or too little moisture may cause only partial success, or even failure, whereas at other times the plan may succeed.
The modes of sowing the clover are virtually the same as those to be followed in sowing medium red clover. (Seee page 78.) It will be sown by hand, by hand machines, and by the grain drill, with or without attachments. The seed of this variety, however, will, on the whole, be more frequently mixed in with the grain than the seed of the medium red clover, because of the stronger growth that it makes.