Texas Almanac, 1859 Page: 74
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7a4 TEXAS ALMANAC.
pleted their planting, he should not on that account be annoyed, or try to burry
through his work without doing it well. The great maxim should be, always keep
the plough going till the soil is thoroughly and deeply mellowed, and the labor is
certain to be well rewarded. In putting in the seed, the farmer should be sure to
put in enough, for it is better to have to take out ten stalks, than to be compelled
to replant one. No farmer, who cultivates properly in Texas, whether his land be
a rich bottom alluvial, or the black prairie, need ever fear that his cribs will be
empty, or that his mules or horses will suffer for want of feed when preparing his
ground for another crop. If only our farmers and planters would give proper at-
tention to their corn crop and plant a due proportion of their land in this great
staple, so necessary to the comfort and luxury of life, instead of having to import
this necessary article of food for man and nearly all domestic'animals, we should
have a surplus of millions of bushels to export annually. The great ease with
which corn is produced in Texas, as compared with other States, seems to be en-
tirely overlooked by many. The amount of labor required is scarcely the fourth
part as much as elsewhere. Another fact of importance is, that this crop can be
usually nearly laid by before the great staple of cotton requires much of our labor.
And yet, notwithstanding these great advantages, our farmers scarcely plant more
than about one third as much ground to the hand in corn as they do in most of
the older and less favored States, and that which they do plant is often greatly
neglected. What has been the result for the past two or three years? Why, great
suffering and a tremendous depletion of our pockets. It is true, some parts of our
State have experienced severe droughts, but yet actual experiments have proved
that deep ploughing and early planting would have secured a sufficiency. I feel
confident that if the planters of Texas (and I confine myself now more especially
to that portion of Texas west of the Trinity, embracing the black prairie lands)
would equally divide their crops between corn and cotton, planting an equal num-
ber of acres of each, no such scarcity would ever occur again. And when we see
that, with one good ploughing and one hoeing, from fifty to sixty bushels per
acre may be made in good seasons, how and why is it that we have empty cribs ?
Just think of the labor you may have done, and that thousands of others are
now doing in old Georgia and the Carolinas, to produce this crop, and see the
yield from that labor. After preparing their land, they must plough it thoroughly
at least three times, and oftener four, with two good hoeings, and then, if the
season is propitious, from ten to fifteen bushels per acre may be gathered. Yet
with this yield, their studied economy and.foresight have given them millions of
wealth, and placed upon their gullied hills the most costly mansions, filled their
land with public schools and railroads; and in short, abundance and luxury are
their daily companions. If all these are added to a people and a country so little
favored by nature, what may we not expect in this Italy of the South, if we use
the means God has given us?
REMARKS ON THE CULTIVATION OF WHEAT IN WILLIAMSON AND
FiURISHED BY SAM. MATHER, OF WILuAxsoN.
Our wheat lands in Texas are nearly all prairie. The stiff prairie is generally
the best, it being of a black or chocolate color, and varying from twelve to twenty
inches in the depth of soil; it should be broke up in the first place about four
inches deep, cutting the grass-roots about midway, which causes them to rot
sooner than when the roots are turned up from the bottom. They usually extend
about seven inches deep. The prairie-plough, commonly used, is of wrought iron,
manufactured in the country, and costs about $20 when stocked. The teams used
for breaking up, consist of from four to six yoke of oxen, worth $35 to $50 per
yoke when broke. The ploughs used are sometimes, though not generally, on the
improved principle of rollers, running without a man to hold them; the driver, at
the end of .the furrows, only having to throw the plough out with the lever for
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Texas Almanac, 1859, book, 1859~; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth123765/m1/75/: accessed June 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.