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Short Talks About Fertilizers.
A READING COURSE.~By L E. MILLER. XIV.—THE SPECIAL NEEDS OF DIFFERENT CROPS. □S HAS BEEN several times suggested in these articles, different crops, as well as dif ici chi soils, have certain special needs which must be considered in the purchase of fertilizers if the best results are to be obtained. Some plants can utilize plant food in forms which are utterly unavailable to oth er crops. Certain crops, too, require much larger amounts of certain ele ments, comparatively speaking, than are required by other crops growing on the same soil with them. The fertilizer needed on a given soil for a corn crop will not be the same as that needed on the same soil by a crop of wheat, or cowpeas, or cotton. All these things the farmer must con sider when he goes to buy his fertil izers. It Is impossible to give any exact formula which will be best for any crop under all conditions but tnere are a iew general principles which should be continually kept in mind. Some Special Needs of Wheat and Corn. Corn, for example, needs an abun dant supply of all the elements of plant food, requiring during the growing season especially large amounts of nitrogen to enable it to make a strong growth of stalk and leaves, and thus to attain that vital ity and vigor of growth which will enable it later in the season to ma ture a heavy crop of grain, for which considerable quantities of phosphoric acid and potash will be demanded. Wheat and oats need a liberal sup ply of nitrogen during the first few weeks of growth. Throughout the winter, growth proceeds more slowly and there is less demand for so much readily available food—in fact, large quantities of soluble nitrogen applied to a wheat or oat crop in the fall would be likely to be wasted, at a considerable expense, by the leaching of the winter rains, especially if the crop had not made a good start be fore cold weather came on. On the other hand, in the spring when the new growth begins there is a great demand for readily available nitro gen and this Is why a top-dressing of nitrate of soda so often produces such marked results on a field of winter grain. As the crop matures there must be available a sufficient store of phosphoric acid and potash to insure stiffness of straw and wall filled j heads. A lack of these elements at this time will mean weak straw and shrunken, immature grain. Legumes and Tracking Crops. For most of the leguminous crops it is necessary on many soils to sup ply only phosphoric acid, since they are able to get their supply of nitro gen from the air. They cannot do this, however, unless the particular bacteria which thrive on their roots are present in the soil, and in some cases it is advisable to use nitrog enous fertilizer to give the young legumes a start so that they will be able to supply their own nltrogenr This is often true of the alfalfa crop. Quick growing crops, as are most vegetables, demand large supplies of readily available food, since in their few weeks or months of life there is not time for much elaboration of the plant food in the soil. This is why the trucker finds it profitable to apply quantities of fertilizer to his potato or onion crop which the general farmer could not afford to put on his cotton or corn. It may be worth while to remark right here, however, that most of these truck crops are grown in soils already fertile and that this is one of the reasons why such large quantities of fertilizer can be profitably applied to them. As a rule, the richer the land the more fertilizer that can be profitably used. This is readily explained when one re members that the ability of any plant to take up the food in the soil de pends upon the supply of soil mois ture and the bacterial life of the soil. In a fertile soil these favorable con ditions exist and the plant food which may be applied is readily util ized by the growing crop. In a poor soil—one that is dry and deficient in humus, or water-logged and deficient in bacterial life—plant food ap plied in fertilizer remains, to a large extent, useless to the crop, simply because conditions are not such that the plants can take it up. Some Rales Worth Remembering. A few general rules—subject to many exceptions, as are all general rules—may then be given as guides to profitable fertilization. (1) Quick growing crops require large amounts of plant food in avail able forms, since there is not time during their growth for the supplies of plant food in the soil to be con verted into soluble forms. In this connection it must be remembered, however, that warmth and moisture are the greatest factors in promoting the bacterial activity which changes Insoluble plant food to soluoble forms and that these factors are stronger in the summer than during the winter. Nitrification, for exam ple, is much more rapid in a well tilled corn field during the summer months than in the same field in win ter time, or when It is planted In a crop which receives no cultivation. (2) Slow-growing crops which oc cupy the land for a number of years can usually utilize to best advantage those forms of plant food which be come slowly available through long periods of time. One would supply phosphoric acid to his potatoes, for example, in the most readily available form, acid phosphate, while for hie grass or his orchard trees, the slow er acting and less readily available bone meal is often considered pre ferable. (3) Crops whose principal value depends upon their growth of leave? and stalks demand liberal supplies of nitrogen. Those largely made up of starchy cells need much potaBh: while those in which grain or seed la the principal consideration need especially phosphoric acid. One wishing to grow crisp, tender lettuce, for example, would want to fertilize It heavily with nitrogen. If he were raising potatoes, he would he sure that his soil was abundantly supplied with potash. If a grain crop was being grown, he would give first heed to the supply of phosphoric acid. Of course, any crop must have enough of all of the elements and will he always limited by that ele ment which Is less abundant. But the proportionate needs of crops vary widely. A fertilizer, for example, which would have enough potash for a crop of oats might be entirely too low in this element to produce a maximum yield of Irish potatoes. M) The better the soil Is, as a rule, the larger the quantity of fer tilizer which can be profitably applied and the more completely it will be used by the crops. This supposes, always, that the fertilizers will be adapted to the needs of the crop on that particular soil. The application of these principles to the individual crop must be left to the man who is growing the crop and who is familiar with the conditions of the soil on which it is being grown. (Continued on Page 217.) THE COLE GUANO SPREADER *—D Is furnished with a 4 Plow Cultivator Bar as shown in cut. * Two strong Plow Feet (not shown in rut) are furnished with each Spreader. »—It has a largo Galvanized Steel Hopper, holding % sack of guano. If !,as our w-onderful patent, forced-feed Spreader Disk, which spreads the guano over a space about 10 Inches wide and will sow with regularity any quantity from 100 to 2.000 pounds to the acre Nothing equal to it has ever been seen. 5—In preparing to plant, remove the Cultivator Bar and attach the I low Feet to the two Side Beams and then you can spread any quantity of Guano and throw two good furrows on It, all at one trip with one mule 0—With Plow Feet attached you have the best Quano Spreader and Lister in the world. i With Cultivator Bar in place you ran side dress your crop with guano and at the same time give it a good cultivation. H It is practical, strong, durable, and easy for one mule to puli 0 Throw away those wasteful out-of-date distributor* and gel a labor saving Spreader. Cultivator, Lister, and Side Dresser, combined m ono machine. 10—Then you can apply a part of your guano to growing crop. at the right time to make fruit. You want big ear* of corn and big India of cotton, Instead of poorly fruited stalks. Write at once for name of merchant near you who sella and guaran tees Cole Spreaders, or ask for easy way to order by mail. Do not delay; there will not be enough for all; first come first served. Act quickly. THE COLE MANUFACTURING CO., Box 400, Charlotte, N. C. I -.. I Z " -i High-Grade Fertilizers FOR TWENTY-FIVE YEARS THE MERIDIAN FERTILIZER FACTORY OF MERIDIAN, MISSISSIPPI been supplying with .attraction to the trade their celebrated brands fa, <V*t«, and fi— ^ ■■■-*•«. ui. Kpe>-iaj suLsrrjsssri Chemicals used for composting. " Write for Bulletin on Boll Weerel. 10 DAYS FREE TRIAL LOW FACTORY PRICES JJf® J£il •** b‘*h,»t l«nin dit«n hM tkMT 1 \F'r y"u,Ii'l,,f;s "'‘'Liic'.rt.v, ,1'cvr’^*\J’r‘c^*iV;.V wr Film tlirr -I'roof t,,r» I n,t*,r!r.l kl.llrr , I. i ** *°' «»*>W neeicU *Mh T|DEClihisTMl'giii'ue |,r■■ ' ' I' >wi 7,.I , ,lr„ * *ma *""• TIRES. COASTER BRAKE ,r*: - - •- •< >>■ ■' ■ -nr,™ MRiTmSLi 1izr^ir' r1;mwr & MEAD CYCLE CO. Dept 6282, CHICAGO, ILL.