An Historical, Geographical, Commercial, and Philosophical View of the American United States (2nd ed. 1796) 2: 83-84
William Winterbotham

Sowing maize among burnt logs

In the intervale land on Connecticut river, wheat often yields forty, and sometimes fifty bushels to the acre; but in common upland, if it produce twenty bushels, it is reckoned profitable, though, it often falls short of that. Indian corn will sometimes average thirty or forty, but it is to be observed that this latter grain does not produce so largely, nor is the grain so heavy on new as on the old lands well cultivated. This, however, is owing much to the lateness of the season in which it is planted; if planted as early on the newly burnt land as on the old, it will be nearly as good. Of all grains, winter rye thrives best on new lands, and Indian corn or barley on the old. Barley does not succeed well in the new land, nor is flax raised with any advantage, until the land has been cultivated for some years. The same may be said of oats and peat, but all kinds of esculent roots are much larger and sweeter in the virgin soil than in any other.

The mode of clearing and cultivating new lands has been much improved within the last thirty years. Forty years ago it was thought impossible to raise Indian corn without the plough and the hoe. The mode of planting it among the burnt logs, was practised with great success at Gilmantown, about the year 1762, and this easy method of cultivating soon became universal in the new plantations. It is now accounted more profitable for a young man to go upon new, than to remain on the old lands. In the early part of life, every day's labour employed in subduing the wilderness, lays a foundation for future profit: besides the mode of subduing new laud, there has been no improvement made in the art of husbandry. The season of vegetation is short, and is almost wholly employed in preparing, planting, and tilling the land, in cutting and housing fodder, and gathering in the crops. These labours succeed invariably, and must be attended to in their proper season; so that little time can be spared for experiments, if the people in general were disposed to make them. Indeed, so sudden is the succession, of labours, that upon any irregularity in the weather, they run into one another, and, if help be scarce, one cannot be completed before the other suffers for want of being done. Thus hay is often spoiled for want of being cut in season, when the harvest is plentiful. It is partly from this cause, partly from the ideas of EQUALITY with which the minds of husbandmen are early impressed, and partly from a want of education, that no spirit of improvement is among them, but every one pursues the business of sowing, planting, mowing, and railing cattle, with unremitting labour and undeviating uniformity.

Very little use is made of any manure except barn dung, though marl may be had in many places, with or without digging. The mixing of different strata is never attended to, though nature often gives the hint by the rain bringing down sand from a hill on a clay bottom, and the grass growing there in greater beauty and luxuriance than elsewhere. Dung is seldom suffered to remain in heap over the summer, but is taken every spring from the barn, and either spread over the field and ploughed in, or laid in heaps, and put into the holes where corn and potatoes are planted.