The Cultivator 6(5): 156-157 (1849)
Lime and Charcoal for Potatoes
JOHN W. BAILEY
Plattsburgh, N. Y., February, 1849

EDS. CULTIVATOR—I send you the following experiment, showing the comparative effect of powdered charcoal and lime in raising potatoes, &c.

May 10, 1848—I planted Early Scarcity potatoes, in drills, three feet apart, made with a common plow. I scattered a moderate quantity of well rotted manure in all the drills. I then took seven rows for experiment, which was as follows: On the 24th August, I measured off 30 feet of each row, parallel to each other, and weighed the product of each, which I give below:

Row     Weight
1 A sprinkling of lime on the seed, 26 1/2 lbs.
2 No lime or charcoal, 30
3 A dressing of   powdered charcoal, 34
4 35
5 lime, 33 1/2
6 32 1/2
7 powdered charcoal, 35 1/2

The result shows that charcoal dust, in every case, gave a larger yield than lime, but does not prove that lime was of any advantage to the crop, although not conclusive, as there was but one row without lime or charcoal. The experiment does not show any extraordinary effect of the charcoal; but I am of the opinion that the effect of this fertilizer will be more enduring than any other manure, and on that account I consider it valuable. The charcoal I get from a forge near by, it being the dust remaining about the coalhouse. The soil on which the trial was made was a sandy loam. All the tubers were sound, although the vines were slightly effected with the prevailing disease.

It is my practice to dig my potatoes early, and if possible in good weather, and spread them in a dry, cool, and airy outhouse, where they remain until it is necessary to protect them from frost, when they are removed to the cellar. When treated in this manner, I have never had any rot is my cellar. One of my neighbors dug his potatoes about the same time that I did; he had no rot in the field, and put them directly into his cellar in good order. Early in January he told me that he had lost nearly all, by the dry rot. Many others have lost more or less potatoes by rotting in the cellar. I think my way of digging early, and putting into the cellar late, after the weather has become cold, will ensure their safety.