THE AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY OF FREDERICKSBURG,
AT THE ANNUAL MEETING, ON THE 13TH AND 14th OF NOVEMBER, 1834.
By James M. Garnett, President.
Published in the Farmers' Register by request of the Society.
Gibbes' Prolific Corn
Permit me, gentlemen, once more to welcome you to another anniversary of our society. It has been held every year, I believe, without a single interruption, since our first establishment in 1818; which fact may therefore be considered, I trust, a sure indication of a still longer continuance. To commemorate it thus has always afforded an opportunity, highly gratifying, to renew our friendly intercourse; and, at the same time, beneficially to interchange such knowledge as each of us may have annually gained in regard to any, or to all of the various branches of husbandry. This knowledge, after all, is, in one sense at least, of more importance, than any other. It is the basis of national wealth; for, without it, none of the various professions, trades, and callings essential to national prosperity—so far as this depends upon wealth—can obtain even the means of subsistence. Well, therefore, has it been said, that "pasturage and tillage"' (upon which husbandry itself, in all its branches, is dependent,) "are the two breasts of the state." But an eulogium on our profession is, I trust, entirely unnecessary before my present audience. Let me, proceed therefore, to state the few agricultural facts which have fallen under my own observation, since our last November meeting, that appear to deserve your attention.
The first relates to a variety of Indian corn, which seems to me—as far as I can judge from one imperfect trial—far more productive than any other I have ever noticed. Its history, or rather the circumstances which induced me to try it, are as follow: last winter, in Washington, two or three Maryland farmers of my acquaintance, gave me a very high character of it, and strongly recommended, from their own experience, that I should make an experiment with it. They stated that it was cultivated chiefly on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where it was called "the twin corn;" (I should rather call it the extra prolific,) and that it produced, in every variety of land, considerably more than any other corn they had ever tried. I procured a barrel in the ears from my friend Col. Lloyd, (since dead,) who was an experienced farmer and a gentleman of unquestionable veracity. His present was accompanied by a letter, in which he assured me, that, after a fair trial, he thought the difference in favor of this variety was equal to at least fifteen per cent., and that many of his neighbors estimated it still higher. I distributed ears among several gentlemen of my acquaintance, all of whom—at least all that I have seen— speak very highly of it. My own experiment was rendered nearly abortive by a drought which commenced on the 5th day of July, and never ceased until the last day of August. Still I have seen enough to produce a determination that I will plant my whole crop of this variety next year. Before the drought began to act, I counted from five to eight good shoots and silks upon many stalks, all of which promised to make ears of corn; but the intense, parching heat of the sun, without rain for 55 days and nights, blasted my prospects, and left only the proof that more ears on a stalk came to perfection, than of either of the other two varieties which I cultivated, and had long considered of superior value to any that I had previously subjected to trial. The grain of this new kind is very white, but not so flinty as the homany or Madeira corn, and makes beautiful meal: the cob is also white, and uncommonly small; the ears, of course, are not large. It ripens somewhat earlier than the gourd-seed varieties, and the stalks throw out an unusual quantity of suckers, upon several of which, that I suffered to remain, small ears of corn were found. Enemy as I am to all kinds of exaggeration, and especially to the practice, so prevalent among our agricultural brethren, of "making all their geese swans," I will venture, notwithstanding, strongly to recommend extensive trials of this extra prolific corn, as I beg leave to call it. If it will add only three or four per cent., instead of fifteen, to a farmer's crop of this most valuable grain, it should be preferred to all other kinds.