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A HOP TALK.
As a recent settler in Washington hunt
ing for hop information, I called on C. M.
Davis, for many years superintendent for
Ezra Meeker, the well-known hop man,
for a practical talk ami this is about the
way it ran:
I desire to plant ten acres to hops this
coming spring. What is the first thing to
be done ?
Well, said he, if the land is ready for the
plow the first thing to do as soon us spring
opens ia to plow it deeply—running seven or
eight inches, if the land will stand it, or
which is better, in my opinion, plow five or
six inches and follow with a subsoiler.loosen
ing the soil several inches lower, but not
throwing it to the top. The surface soil
is best fitted for the crop.
The plowing done, what is the next step?
Simply get the soil in fine tilth and then
set the poles.
What would be your manner of laying
off the ground and putting in the poles?
Procure a flexible steel wire—say No. 12
hay wire—a* long as can be straightened
readily; some say 500 feet can be used.
As I would, have my hills 7 feet apart
each way, I daub a bit of bright paint upon
the wire every seven feet its entire length.
Start at the southeast corner of the field
and have an assistant stretch the wire to
the southwest.' Have small pegs driven at
every paint dot on the wire, always plac
ing the pegs inside the wire. These pegs
should be about ten inches long and i to i
inch square. Set deep so that they can
be moved readily. Now throw the wire
along the west side from the corner you
have reached and set the pegs as before;
then throw the wire along the northeast
boundary, pegging every seven feet,
always placing the pegs inside the wire.
Now no back to the western boundary and
stretch the wire north and south seven
feet in from the first row of pegs, setting
pegs again as before. Move in another
seven feet and peg, and so on until the
eastern limit of the field has been reached.
You now have your field in rows exactly
seven feet apart each way. If the field
is too long for one stretch of the wire,
duplicate the measurements.
You can use either the crown roots or
runners. For myself I prefer the runnera
for the reason that they will not need grub
bing and pruning the first season. With
crown roots that must be done. I go for
saving labor. Cut the runners to two rings of
eyes—they will be aoout four inches long.
With a common hoe remove the earth about
three inches from each peg and always on
the same side of the pegs of each row, for
the roots. Set the roots on end, inclining
a little toward the pegs; cover them
When would you plant these roots ?
As soon as the ground is made ready for
them. March or April wb«W I have culti
vate.i the crop.
When would you begin setting the poles?
Just as soon as these roots are planted.
Set a pole to each hill and remove the pegs
and place the poles exactly where the pegs
stood. It is preferable to have the roots
on the Bide of pole next to the prevailing
winds. Procure at a hardware store a
dibble made for the purpose. I like the
square ones best. Make a hole with this
dibble and insert the pole firmly but do
not tramp the earth about it; for the hop
roots must have free play.
What about short poles?
I have had no experieuce with them, hut
lam inclined to think they will he the
thing for the l rakima country. I would
have them eight feet above the surface of
the ground. I think if inserted 18 inches
in ground that they will stand firmly.
Of course the short poles are the cheaper,
and they will save labor, but I do not
know how they will affect the yield, having
had no experienc*!. By the way, when
speaking of the roots I should have said
plant three or four male vine roots to the
acre placing them on the side of the pre
How soon should the training of the
vines to the poles be begun?
As soon as the young shoots are 12 to 24
inches long, Select the two most promis
ing and tie to the pole.
What material do you recommend for
Cut hop Backing, gunny sacks, or kiln
carpet in squares of about 16 inches, and
unravel the strings. Tie loosely so as not to
bind the vines. Do not break the tops off
of the vines you train. Handle with great
care. Children can do this work admir
ably. In fact prefer them. Have them
twist the vines about the poles "with the
sun." Two to three tyiugs will be needed.
The vines must be kept to the poles.
Leave the other sprouts that have germin
ated until you see that the chosen two are
getting on all right, then pinch them off
close to the ground.
When should cultivation b«gin?
As soon as weeds or grass appear, and
keep at it as Ions; as vines will permit; use a
double shovel plow throwing the dirt from
the roots. Run the plow deeply but not
near enough to cut the growing roots.
The second time throw dirt toward the
roots and keep doing thi?. Lay by with
a two-horse plow.
THE ALKALI QUESTION.
By Prof. Eugene W. Hilgard.
1 have examined elaborately a sample of
•oil taken almost on the spot where North
Yakima now stands, as typical of the soil
of the Ahtanum prairie; also of the Yakima
prairie on the reservation, at two points.
Also of the Yakima bottom, Columbia bot
tom at several points in the northern part
of the Great Bend country, and in the
Spokane and Colville regions.
The average for soil composition iv
Eastern Washington is ahead of that for
California on nearly every point—of course
OW glorious climate amply makes op for
that—andjis excelled only by the Montana
average. Your "prairie" soils are about
on a level with those of our great valley,
being of course lake deposits like these*,
subjected afterward* to arid conditions.
They only need irrigation to equal those of
our great valley, and some do not even
need that. Curiously enough, a slight taint
of alkali reuders crops perfectly safe in the
Bend country, because of the soil moisture
it preserved. Where the alkali is lack
ing (as at Kitzvile) the-j is much more
stress on the crops in summer.
Of course, too much alkali is rather hard
on some of yoar hands, and for these the
remedy is just the same as with us;
by under-draining, or ditching and flooding.
Moie than half of the alkali land that
people are afraid to touch requires no other
remedy than thorough, deep tillage, main
tained at all times. Gypsum (land plaster)
and summer tillage to keep the soil loose,
usually suffices to rid the land of "black
At Old Vakima they have actually scraped
alkali into the rivt r in oldeu times, there was
much of it. And it was very "black"— I
suppose it still is. Near the mouth of the
Yakima it lies half an inch thick on top in
summer. In short, the alkali question is
upon you as it is upon us, and will be
more as the irrigated districts become older.
1 would like to know to what extent, if
any, that effect has yet been produced on
the Ahtanum or Vakima prairies. Of
course in the Bend country some of the
valleys are as bad in that respect as any in
the United States.
I give you these general ideas for the
present. In the absence ot my records 1
cannot well give you a detailed article, will
do so by and by; but would like to know
how things are going in the Vakima region
and what are the points most desirable to
dwell on at the present time.
University of California,
BY WAY OF INTRODUCTION.
E. FI. Libbv—My Dear Sir. You have
been known as a journalist so long, it seems
to me that your name is a sufficient intro
duction, certainly with agricultural men.
* * * Wishing you abundant success,
1 am sincerely yours,
[Prok.] Eugene W. Hilgard,
University of California.
Editor The Ranch: Your letter was
a great surprise to me. I most cordially
return your compliments of the season, and
sincerely hope you may find your health, as
I have no doubt you will in our admirable
clime. This is a glorious section, this great
northwest; and there is much work to do
in the Hue you propose. I hope to be in
Spokane next month an<* to see you there.
I have no doubt you will find most ccrdial
support in your work by the Yakima peo
ple—they are such enthusiasts and rustlers.
All success to The Ranch.
[Paor.] E. It. Lake,
State Agricultural College, Pullman.