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The progressive farmer and southern farm gazette. (Starkville, Miss.) 1910-1920, April 15, 1911, CULTIVATION SPECIAL., Image 1

Image and text provided by Mississippi Department of Archives and History

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn87065610/1911-04-15/ed-1/seq-1/

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A ^ gr1,1 an^ Home Weekly lor the States ot Mississippi,
Jr i £• Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Tennessee.
1 y T. F Title R«j> <,,.1 ----
__ Palfnl _FOUNDED, 1895, BY DR. TAIT BUTLER. AT STARKVILLE, MISS.
Volume XVI. No. 15. SATUR 4V, APRIL 15, 1911. Weekly: $1 a Year.
—--■■■ :-,
The Roots of a Plant and What They Are Worth.
HERE are two pictures worth your study. The first is a photo
graph of Mr. R. S. Wilson, who has charge of the Farm De
monstration Work in Alabama and Mississippi. He is holding up a
cotton root, or part of one, a considerable portion of it having been
broken off. The part which he
holds is nine feet long and out at
the end of it were the smaller
rootlets on which grew the root
hairs whose business it was to
take up the food from the soil for
that plant. This root did not
grow down into the ground, either;
it was a lateral root—that is, it ran
out from the plant near the sur
face of the soil, just as most cotton
roots do. Many folks greatly over
estimate the depth in the ground
of the feeding roots of most plants.
A few roots may run very deep
I down into the soil, but by far the
nnxt nf 4Vi a frinrl fiVitainpH
gi VUtVi ~ —
from the soil by our cultivated crops
comes from the top six inches of
the fields. In fact, on clay lands
poorly broken, the feeding area
may practically be limited to the
first four inches. The top soil is
nearly always a better feeding
ground for plant roots than can be
found further down, and the little
rootlets are constantly reaching up
for food into the top layer of earth
where the soil is fine, loose, well
supplied with air and where the
plant food is most likely to be
available. It is safe to say that a
plow run six inches deep nine feet
from the plant shown could have
. rr_ cut off most of the feeding root
A COTTON ROOT NINE feet long. iets 0n this cotton root. And that
would have meant no little loss to the plant.
~ The other picture shows some corn plants 33 days after planting,
diet r00*o these plants are 20 inches long, and it is out at this
stance from the plant that most of the very fine roots, the feed
hv ar^ to be found. Every one of these roots cut or broken off
fr,J.p ow means a loss to the plant; a lessened ability to gather
’ a smaller yield of corn.
of n ese Pictures should be all the evidence necessary in the case
^versus Shallow Cultivation. It must be evident to anyone
invp«t; iUt*y the matter a little, or who will go into his field and
com u®ate’ that it is impossible to plow deeply after his cotton or
ands r^ache(l a height of six inches without cutting off thous
Dlan»« I? thousands of the little roots which are the only means the
times whVe getting their food from the soil. There may come
grass Knf lt}* better to do this than to turn the crop over to the
* ' mer should ever willingly run his cultivators more
Par inches deep after the plants he is tending have
siderable size. When this must be done, it is only
a two evils. ,
rs, in fact, have a wrong idea of the purpose of cul
>e to fine and loosen the soil, to make it a fit place
for the plants to grow in, is before the seed are planted. The first
essential of good cultivation is a good seed-bed, and this seed-bed
can not be made after the plants are up. Yet how many
farmers there are who feel it their duty to “loosen up the ground"
to a considerable depth after the crops have grown for weeks and
have filled the soil with thousands of little feeding roots running in
every direction and searching eagerly everywhere for the foods bv
which the plants must be nourished. There may, again, be ex
ceptional cases when deep cultivation is necessary for this pur
pose, but they are few indeed.
The true ideal of cultivation should be to keep, from the very
beginning, the top three inches of soil so loose and light that the
roots would not grow there and that the soil below would be cover
ed as with a blanket. Then the tiny tubes which bring up the
soil moisture from the depths to the surface would be cut off by
this dust blanket and the moisture would be left just where the
plants could get it most readily. .
Of course, it is not always possible exactly to realize such an
ideal ~s this, but the farmer who works with this end in view is
COHN 33 DAYS FROM PLANTING; ROOTS 20 INCHES LONG.
almost certain to make better „rops in any ordinary season than
will the man to whom cultivation means the running of deep fur
rows between the rows of his growing crops.
FEATURES OF THIS ISSUE.
COHN AND OATS FOR THE HORSE. 12
CROP PROSPECTS IN ALABAMA. 14
CULTIVATING CORN WITH THE WEEDER . «
CULTIVATION OF CORN. 4
HINDUISM: THE SUPREME I'ACT OF INDIA . II
“OLD MAN AVERAGE"—I... 10
PREPARING BROILERS FOR MAKET . 10
PROFESSOR MASSEY’S COMMENTS . 2
SPRAYING WILL DOUBLE YOUR IRISH POTATO CROP. 18
THE PURE-BRED HERD. 18
THE BEST CULTIVATION. 5
THE SEED PATCH OR PLAT. 8
TISSUE-BUILDING FOODS. .. 8

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