Wednesday, May 14, 2008

thoughts of manure by martin mower

Well, it seems our distinguished ancestor, Martin Mower, was a strong proponent of cooking manures as illustrated in this article which appeared in the Bangor Daily Whig & Courier back in 1850.

There is very little excuse now for farmers being ignorant of any of the essential scientific or practical information regarding their great art. They have only to attend to the current reading of the day, as to matters respecting agriculture to keep up with the improvements that are made. The press is teeming with matter of the deepest importance to farmers, and much of it a genuine practical character., unfolding in an easy manner the principles of science adapted to the culture of the earth, and making familiar the great laws of nature having relations to the agricultural art. Among these publications is a beautiful volume published by Messrs. LEONARD SCOTT & Co., of New York, which contains the lectures delivered before the New York State Agricultural Society and the mebers [sic] of the Legislature of New York during the last winter. The subjects of which they treat are the relations to practical agriculture of physical geography, geology and minerology [sic] , meterology [sic] and chemistry, with the means by which general scientific knowledge may be diffused and made available for the improvement of agriculture and the general elevation of the agricultural classes. They were received with great favor at the time of each delivery, and are now collected into a volume with the view of subserving the interests both of agriculture and science. They present in a lucid manner the results of recent scientific investigation, and throw much light on the rationale of many of the operations of husbandry.
These enterprising publishers are now issuing that great work, to which we have repeatedly called attention, "The Farmer's Guide to Scientific and Practical Agriculture," by Henry Stephens of England, and John P. Norton, Professor of Scientific Agriculture in Yale College.
The Working Farmer, a monthly publication by Professor Mapes, is a work of great merit, particularly upon the all important subject of manures and the cooking of manures, a matter which is not sufficiently understood and attended to even by those who can appreciate the value of manures in farming.
In the remarks of Capt. Martin Mower of this city, at the Penobscot Agricultural Show, there was a great fund of valuable practical information upon this subject of cooking manures, which we fear was not fully understood and appreciated. The speaker endeavored to give the why and the how and in this order. It would have been better in a popular audience, such as was there assembled, to have given distinctly and consecutively the how and have left the why for another occasion, or for a brief suming [sic] up. One fact he stated of much interest, that by his method of cooking manure he had no difficulty in reducing bones in one year to an impalpable powder, thoroughly mixed with his compost or held in his liquid manure. There can be no doubt, we think, that even with his imperfect and somewhat clumsy manner of treating his compost manure, he derives very great advantage in his soil. We have seen full evidence of this in an examination of his fields and his crops. He has the true idea about the necessity of cooking manures, and he will be able to by and by, with his improvements, to bring the labor of the processes into better shape. The compost heap made of muck, leaves, saw dust, stable manure, offal and other organic matters, should be frequently saturated with a liquid of lime slacked with salt water, plaster, soot, ashes, charcoal dust, night soil, urine, soap suds, and all the wast liquid made in a dwelling, spent lye of soap, &e. This liquid passing through the heap, not only imparts virtue to the materials in the heap, but insures entire decomposition of the whole. The compost thus made and frequently turned over, becomes fit food or plants and performs the double office of decomposing other substances in the soil and rendering them useful, which otherwise would remain for a long time inert without such treatment.
But we cannot pursue this subject further now, and have only thrown out these hints and suggestions to call attention to some of the matters which should engage the earnest attention of all who would be successful farmers.
SOURCE: Bangor Daily Whig & Courier, Bangor, Maine, 22 Oct 1850

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