Texas Almanac, 1859 Page: 66
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66 TEXAS ALMANAC.
lef with some, that the rich Mosqoite valleys (bright copper loam) on the Upper
Brazos and its tributaries, are even better adapted to the growth of wheat and
other small grains, than the black prairie lands of the Upper Trinity, and those who
have seen the growing crops in that region confidently count on a yield of 40 or
45 bushels per acre in the rich valleys of that delightful region.
CULTURE-TIME AND MODE OF SOWING, ETC.
The mass of wheat-growers in Texas, as yet, take but little pains and incur as
little expense in its cultivation as possible. Little or no attention is given to the
proper mode of cultivation, or to the varieties of seed best adapted to the soil and
climate. It is put carelessly in the ground, without previous preparation, and left
until it ripens, is harvested and put away, its culture only requiring from one month
to six weeks' labor in the year. Taking these facts into consideration, the yield of
the crop has certainly been remarkable, and when propetrattention shall be be-
stowed on its culture, and the varieties best adapted to the?-ountry shall be intro-
duced, we may look for largely increased yields. It
Wheat is sown from the 1st of September to the 1set of Nowvmber, and sometimes
even later. The usual sowing month, however, is Octobr, and a majority of
growers put the seed in the ground from the 1st to the 10th of that month. Very
few prepare the ground before sowing. It is usually sown after the corn is
gathered. The only preparation is to fell the corn stalks, sow the seed broadcast,
on the ground, and plough or harrow in. A few break up the ground before plant-
ing. An enterprising farmer. of the writer's acquaintance, pursues this course, and
puts the grain in with a drill, which at the same time opens the furrow, deposits
the seed and covers it up. With the drill, one hand and a horse, 8 acres per day
are sowed, requiring 3 pecks of seed per acre. This farmer usually sows after oats,
and thinks it best to break the ground well as soon As the oat crop is harvested.
His mode of cultivation produces good results. When sown broadcast, one bushel
of seed per acre is commonly used. After the seed is in the ground, nothing more
is required until harvest.
The culture of wheat requires one hand to twenty-five acres, only fiom one month
to six weeks in the year-two or three weeks in planting, etc., and the same time
in harvesting. The balance of the year may be devoted to other pursuits, the
wheat crop scarcely interfering with other field labors. The common red May
wheat is chiefly used, growers manifesting but little interest in procuring and test-
ing new varieties. It can not be doubted that experiments with dlffereut varieties
of seed would elicit valuable results, and discover kinds peculiarly adapted to the
character of soil and vicissitudes of climate. When the fall wheat fails from any
cause, an early spring what may be sown in February or March, and produces a
good crop, though it is more subject to the rust than fall wheat.
ITS VALUE FOR PASTURAGE.
The wheat grows luxuriantly through the winter, affording the finest pasturage
for stock. Its value in this regard can not well be over-estimuated. Pasturage is a
great benefit in more than one respect, and is absolutely necessary to the safety of
the crop. It attacked by the killing frosts that sometimes occur in the latter part
of March and early part ot April, after the stalk is in "the boot," the crop is de-
stroyed. Grazing retards its top growth and keeps it back until this critical period
has past. Grazing also causes the roots to grow and take a firm set in the earth.
The tramping of the ground by stock is a great benefit to the crop, settling the
earth, setting the roots, and answering every purpose of roiling the ground, which
is necessary where it can not be grazed. One hundred acres will support one hun-
dred head of stock from December to the 15th of March, keeping them bleek and
fat through the most rigorous winter, until the rising of grass on the prairies, in the
spring. We thus have as good beef and as fat stock horses in February as in May,
without any expense. Intelligent farmers concur in saying that it will pay well to
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Texas Almanac, 1859, book, 1859~; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth123765/m1/67/: accessed November 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.