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Vol. xvn, 1, 46. mole NO. 652.
-For The Florida Agriculturist. Thomas Phosphate Powder. I beg leave to call the attention of your readers to anew work on manures, which is “A Treatise on Manures, or The Phil osophy of Manuring,” by A. B. Grifliths. Whittaker & Cos., London, 1889; Ivol. pp. 399, $3.50. (?) In this book on page 132, under the general caption of “Phosphatic Ma nures,” will be found an interesting arti cle on the “Thomas Phosphate Powder” which is being used in England and on the continent with great success and in enormous quantities England using 130,000 tons, while Germany uses 200,- 000 annually. The article to which ref erence has been made goes on to say that “the Thomas phosphate powder (basic slag or basic cinder) is a bye-product in the preparation of steel by what is known as the ‘basic process.’ The object of the basic process is the elimination of phos phorous from pig iron by means of a ba sic lining of the Bessemer converter. The product from the process is a substance containing from 14 to 20 per cent, of phosphoric acid. Asa manurial agent it is essential that the slag must be in the form of an impalpable powder, for then its phosphoric acid is easily assimi lated by plants, and it is attacked with out difficulty by carbonic acid and the acids produced by the decomposition of organic matter. It appears that no other raw phosphate possesses such a degree of solubility as that possessed by the basic slag.” If this Thomas phosphate powder, or Thomas meal as it is frequently termed, is all that is claimed for it, then the or ange growers of Florida have a source of phosphoric acid that is incomparable in its abundance and quality. The essential features of this meal to make it most ef fective seem to be that it shall be in the form of an impalpable powder. Thus one firm in England grinds it so fine that “75 per cent, of the powder passes through a sieve of 108 meshes per square inch, and the remaining 25 per cent, passes mostly through 100 meshes. In this fine state, and containing about 18 per cent, of phosphoric acid, Thomas phosphate is stated to be four times more soluble and effective than steamed bone meal,” or to put it otherwise: “To every 100 parts of phosphoric acid in * * * bone meal * * * there are 120 parts of lime. To everv 100 parts of phosphoric acid in Thomas phosphate there are 100 parts of lime. But in the case of Thomas phos phate the lime is in a state of super-satu ration and for this reason the compound (Thomas slag) is very unstable, for it is easily decomposed.” If this compound can be obtained in DeLand, Fla., Wednesday, November. 12,1890. this country and delivered at Jackson ville at a reasonable price, one element of our fertilizers can be had in a most desir able form, and also clean and unobjec tionable to handle or even to place on the door-yard grass. It is w ell worth the while of our fertilizer agents to look into this matter, and it is quite surprising that wide-aw r ake brokers and handlers of crude materials for fertilizers have not seen their opportunity to make much money by introducing Thomas meal to Florida farmers and orange growers. Whether or not basic slag is produced to any extent in this country I am not in formed. There is some talk or hope of a “basic steel” plant being established at Chatta nooga, Tenn. Upon the occasion of a re cent visit to Chattanooga by a number of English and other capitalists, Mr. Percy C. Gilchrist—one of the inventors of the Thomas-Gilchrist process, by which the Thomas phosphate powder is obtained — said that basic steel could be readily pro duced at Chattanooga and vicinity, be cause there the necessary materials are found in greatest abundance in the ore, fuel and dolomitic limestone (lime and manganese) of that region. With such a plant as near to our groves as is Chattanooga the orange grower, as well as the cotton grower and all other tillers of the soil in the South will be indeed fortunately situated. If any one of the readers of the Agricultukist know where and at what price in the United States the above meal or phosphate powder can be obtained he will place us all under ob ligations by making known his informa tion. I may add that Dr. Wagner, who is es teemed as a high authority in Germany, has determined that “Thomas phosphate acts six times more intensely than the phosphoric acid in bone meal.” It must not be u-ed with sulphate of ammonia. Sow the sulphate of ammonia first and after an interval of six weeks sow the Thomas powder. The cost should not exceed that of pure bone meal, but as to any definite price being named that is out of the question for our market until some information is gained hereon. C. J. K. Jones. Louisville, Ky. How to Get a Start in Bee Culture. Editor Florida Agriculturist : I was very much interested in an article on bee keeping, by Mr. J. B. Case. Would not Mr. Case or some other of your practical correspondents give us some directions as to the best way to make “a start” in bee culture on as an economical basis as w T ould be consistent with success. Subscriber. For the Florida Agriculturist. The Philosophy of Water Protection. During recent years the benefit of wa ter protection for plantations of citrus and other tender trees and plants has been demonstrated beyond a doubt. Still the manner in which water tempers the cold blasts seems not to be under stood by everybody; and having heard of men, otherwise levelheaded, who, through ignorance on this point, are about to undertake the job of leading, in ditches, water through their groves from lakes, etc., for establishing of artificial water protection (?) the writer thinks perhaps a little light upon the subject may not be amiss. To a certain depth below the surface of land or water, the heat of summer and cold in winter do not reach; the tempera ture there is always about the same. For this reason well water is relatively cool in summer and warm in winter. Some times in cold mornings steam is seen is suing from deep wells, wdiile pools of wa ter near by are frozen over. The heat that the ground possesses in winter above the temperature of the air, is given out all the time, but so slowly that it is not appreciable. As water is a worse conductor of heat than earth, the warmth issuing from a body of water would be less yet were the water’s surface always un ruffled ; and in a still cold night a grove on the lake side is no better off than if it were miles away therefrom. But during the cold northwest winds which some times sweep over our State the water is agitated—turned upside dovvn, so to speak; the weight of the sinking billows presses upward the warm water beneath, so that the steam from it is carried along by the wind and tempest the latter for the benefit of the vegetation on the Southern strand. Should the wind con tinue for many days together, the water in a lake of average depth would, by con tinued exposure to the winds, be too much chilled to give out any more warmth, and cease to be a protection. From the above will be seen that a body of water, to be a protection to ten der vegetation against cold, must be on the windward side thereof and be of same extent in area and of good depth. If less thau two square miles in surface and fif teen feet average depth its value as a res ervoir of heat is probably very small. A little reflection will show up the utter futility of buying to take the chill off a “norther” by means of ditches through a grove. The water enter ing the latter would, from necessity come from the cold surface of the reservoir, be this a lake, river or pond, and whatever w'armth it possessed above the ground temperature would soon be $2 per Amin, in advance. lost. Granted the water was warm all the time, its volume was insufficient to warm the surrounding air. But it would give out vapors enough to condense upon bark and leaves and chill these when again evaporated, for watercannot “dry off” from any surface but that the latter perforce must be cooled. A striking proof of this is that on a cold, still morning frost may not appear until the sun is well up, for then the dew begins to evaporate and this process so chills the moist sur face that frost is formed, and thus what was intended for a benefit to the grove would turn out a damage. Water or forest protection for our groves is very desirable, and those who cannot have the former can generally have the latter. I note with pleasure some able communications in your splen did paper, of late, on forest preserva tion. This subject cannot be too much agitated. H. E. Lagehgiien. Starke, Florida. Wild Rice for Florida. It seems as though the following shouM be a valuable suggestion for Florida, where there is so much of marsh and low land: It will pay well to improve marshes, lowlands, ponds and streams of water that have mud bottoms by sowing with wild duck’s ric6 (Rizaniaaquatica, Indian rice, water oats). It is an annual, will spread all over marsh land, and does not die cut. Horses and cattle eat its luxu riant growth of leaves as freely as young sugar corn, and it is excellent for fatten ing stock of all kinds, fed either green or cured. The seed are absolutely sure to grow, flourish and return a generous, heavy yield, and is always a sure forage crop. No plant yields so heavily, so abundantly, so easily, so surely, so con tinually as wild duck’s rice. Wild rice also does well in ponds and streams. It should be planted in August or Septem ber, broadcast from the shores, or from a boat in one to eight feet of water hav ing a mud bottom. It grows very rap idly. As an attration for wildfowl it can not be equaled. A friend writes: “It brought ine more good meals on the * table than if I had butchered my lattest calf.” Wild ducks are very fond of wild rice, and an acre of it will afford attrac tion and food for thousands of them du ring the autumn mouths. They can easily be caught in the tall wild rice stalks. Iu large ponds and lakes it puri fies the water and affords refuge for small fry, with plenty of food from the anima culae upon its stalks. For planting in fish ponds, it is especially desirable; the stalks in the water are continually sought by fishes.”—Farmers’ Review.