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This has been laid off' in plots of one-thirtieth of an acre each, and fifteen of what are believed to be our most valuable grasses and clovers for hay and pastures seeded down. The list comprises orchard grass, timothy, red top, tall meadow oat grass, meadow fescue, fowl meadow, English rye grass, Italian rye grass, Kentucky blue grass, Texas blue grass, Johnson, crab and Bermuda grasses, lucerne and red clover.
This land has been uniformly well enriched, and it is our aim to show the grasses side by side, under the most perfect treatment of manuring and cultivation.
Beyond this is a tract of about one and one-half acres of apparently uniform fertility, on which was grown ten varieties of tobacco in rows running the whole length of the plot, and without any manure or fertilizer, that we might judge of the even character of the yield to be expected from different portions of the field. Owing to the lateness of the season and the difficulty of obtaining the plants, the crop did not amount to much. Adjoining this land is a small plot of about three-quarters of an acre, of apparently one uniform fertility, which, owing to the general confusion of building, could not be put under cultivation till fall, when it was seeded down in barley, without manure, preparatory to laying it off in experimental plots.
We have carefully watched and noted through the year the character of the soil of these different plots, the exposure, the character of the natural growth of trees which we found here, and of weeds, and when we had an opportunity, the amount and character of yield in crops. We have carefully abstained from the use of fertilizers of any kind in those portions of the land which it was expected would be used in comparative plot experiments, and the results so far obtained not only show the wisdom of this proceeding, but make it seem very desirable in the case of two or more of the fields, that at least another year be spent in this preliminary work of obtaining a check on our future results.
From the results obtained this year on the tobacco land it would seem very desirable, before more accurate experiments are carried on, that plots be laid off and a crop planted in each under a uniform treatment, the yield from each being determined as in actual plot experiments.
The public, however, are very impatient of any such slow but accurate work. They do not realize that from the very complex, avd but slightly understood, character of the soil, and of the various conditions of plant growth, that comparative results in the average soil are valuable in proportion, either to the number of years they have been carried on—and we think this about the only way they are practically valuable—or, in the proportion to the number of times the results are duplicated. Will it, then, be safe to draw practical inferences from results obtained on land which has been shown this present year to be very uniformly fertile? Take two plots, for instance, with the same crop, under
, the same treatment, let the yield of one be twice as great as that of the other. If now we vary the treatment which each receives next year, with all the differences of climate, with the differences in temperature, rain-fall, sunshine, &c., will it be just to assume that if the same treatment had been pursued on both, that the difference in yield between the two plots would have been the same as for the year previous, and apply such a correction to the yield obtained under different treatment. Evidently not; and yet such are the conditions upon which we are called to decide, as some of our duplicate plots have yielded results three or four times larger than others, nearly adjacent and under as nearly as possible the same conditions of culture.
The rest of the experimental work that has been carried on in the field has been on the land of the State Agricultural Society and will be described under its appropriate head.
The spot selected for the buildings is the highest on the Farm, and on the site of an old building removed years ago. On the land was evidently at one time a garden, giving us very good soil for the lawn, &c. On the west side the land slopes away so rapidly that we had to run some farm terraces to prevent washing, and this will be used as a vegetable garden in the future. At another place, on the other side of the stable from this, different methods of side-hill ditching will be shown on land reserved for forage crops for the farm stock.
The contract for the erection of the two principal buildings was awarded to Messrs. Ellington & Royster, except the excavations for the basement and foundation walls, which was done by convicts,
The buildings were so far completed at the meeting of the Board of Agriculture, on July 22d, that the corner-stone of the laboratory and work-rooms was laid by the Governor, assisted by the Grand Master of Masons, with appropriate ceremonies.
The work-rooms were finished and occupied by the middle of October, and the cottage about two months later. The workrooms consist of a main room, where the general laboratory work is performed, as in the examination of soils, products of the farm, and such other work, which from its nature cannot conveniently be done in the laboratory of the Station in Raleigh. Adjoining this are the three smaller rooms. One of these can be made perfectly dark at any time, and is to be used as a photographic room, photography being a very important aid iv keeping many of the records of our experimental work.
In this room also are kept the samples of soil, of which we have a great number, taken both from our own farm and from different typical sections of the State, in air-tight glass-jars, seeds for the Farm and those sent in for examination, etc. Here are also kept samples of some of the Farm products which have been, or will be, analyzed.
The next room is used as an office by the weather observer, detailed by the Chief Signal Officer to assist in the organization and management of the State Weather Service. Some of his instruments are kept here.
The next room is a potting-room or small laboratory, where the different soils are prepared for experiments in pots, which are
carried on in the plant-house. Here, also, the solutions are made up and kept for water culture and sand culture, in which experiments are made on plants growing in pure sand or pure water with the addition of plant food, the amount and kind of which is entirely under our control. Overhead there is storage room for many things.
In the basement are several rooms. One with a carpenter's bench and tools, for making repairs on the farm ; another, to keep the farm tools in ; another, for the root cellar, while a boiler
for the plant-house stands directly under the potting-room.
Opening out from the potting-room, on the south side of and in front of all the buildings, is the plant-house. This was designed by the writer especially for this work of experimenting with plants, three years ago, with the help and advice of Prof. S. W. Johnson of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, and after seeing and consulting with a number of experts, and visiting the principal greenhouses of New York and Boston.
The object in constructing such a plant-house is to provide a place where all the conditions of plant growth, including light and heat, can be most perfectly controlled. One can then use the house either to produce a known and artificial climate, as it were, and oberve the development of the plants under, for
, instance, perfect climatic conditions, or, it may be used only in case of storm and as a protection from the dews, winds or possible accidents of the night and during cold weather.
The main point in the construction of a bouse for this purpose was to have a minimum amount of shadow, as it is specially undesirable that one plant should be in shadow at a certain time each day while a neighboring plant will be in full sunlight. To secure this absence of shadow the rafters are very small, only seven-eighths by one and one-fourth inches, rabetted a quarter of an inch to receive the glass. They are made of white pine, and are thoroughly braced withi two iron purlines on each side and with a number of half-inch iron gas-pipes. On each side of the ridge-pole are ventilating sashes which, when raised, give a continuous opening, except for the rafters, the entire length of the