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Hibbard, Benjamin Horace, 1870-1955 / The history of agriculture in Dane County, Wisconsin

Chapter III: Tobacco,   pp. 155-175 PDF (4.7 MB)

Page 168

thirty inches apart, with the roots lying in this furrow. A
scraper under the boys throws loose dirt over the roots, and a
wheel on the back of the truck presses down the loose dirt. The
attachment for watering the plant is a box set on the axle, a
hose leading from the box to the ground, and a valve opened
and closed by an eccentric on one of the large wheels. It works
very well, and instead of soaking the surface, waters only at
the root of the plant. With boys accustomed to feeding, the
plants should be set very well, and it is said that a man and two
boys, with this machine, can set as many as eight or ten can by
hand. The great beauty of the setter, however, lies in the fact
that when the farmer has his field ready, he can go right ahead
and put out the tobacco, not having to wait for rain. With this
alone to recommend it, if some automatic feed can be arranged,
the invention will be an invaluable one for the grower.-Janes-
ville Gafette." 72
   The automatic feed has not vet been provided and the tobacco
planters seem well satisfied with the machine as it is. One of
the most gratifying features of the transplanter is the manner
in which the watering is done; the water is applied at the roots
of the plant and the fine dry soil, gently pressed down by
the wheel at the rear, seldom results in "puddling," which so often
gave trouble when the setting and watering were done by hand.
  A writer in i88i called the hoe "the most important implement
in the tobacco field," for at that time the greater part of the cul-
tivation was done in that primitive way, but by I885 the hand
hoe was almost entirely put out of business by the horse hoe. At
present the usual practice is to go over the field once by hand
to cut out the few weeds missed by the cultivator, but this is a
light task. The horse cultivator is put at work almost as soon
as the plants are set and there is little chance of using it too
often up to the time the leaves are in danger of injury. Tobacco
grows rapidly, sometimes being ready to harvest in less than
two months after planting, and there is little time to be lost, for
unless it be kept moving along at a swift rate it is likely to be
caught by the frost.
  Topping is done just as the blossom is forming, and suckering
and worming keep the farmer busy till time for harvest.
"Wisconsin Tobacco Reporter, July 24, 1885.

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