New England Farmer, and Gardener's Journal, Volume 14(5): 34 (Aug 12, 1835)
(From the Baltimore Farmer.)
GIBBES' IMPROVED CORN.
We publish below, from the Yorkville (S. C.) Patriot, a brief though pithy correspondence between two practical farmers on a subject of great moment to the agricultural interests. It was very happily said by Dean Swift, that "whoever could make two ears of corn to grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before, would deserve better of mankind, and do more essential service to his country, than the whole race of politicians put together," and we believe we may accord to each of those gentlemen the full measure of that meed of praise, without subjecting ourself to the imputation of being a flatterer.
The method of selecting his seed corn, as followed by Mr Gibbes, is judicious, and we trust every agriculturist who raises a corn crop, will take counsel from the result of his experience, and pursue the same course. Indeed, were planters and farmers generally, to adopt this plan, with respect to the saving of their seed from the whole range of their several crops, we have no doubt but that the happiest effects would be the result of their labors, in their melioration and improvement. Domestic animals in Europe and particularly in England, have been brought to their present perfection by selecting exclusively for breeding, those combining the best points, for the respective uses and we see no reason why the same law which regulates. the economy of the animal kingdom, may not, with equal success, be applied to the vegetable. The experiments of Mr Gibbes, and those of every other gentleman who has made the trial, go to confirm the belief, that such would be the case. We therefore, are impelled to the belief, that by exercising due vigilance and proper care, in selecting seed corn from none but such stalks as are vigorous and large in their growth, fruitful in their yield, and which may have borne two ears or more of good grain; and, by being equally careful in the culture, that in a few years, our planters would be able to banish from their corn fields, those unsightly dwarf stalks, which yield nothing but nubbins, and reward the husbandman so indifferently well for his toils and his outlay.
SEPT. 17, 1834.
Friend—Two years last spring I obtained some of your seed Twin Corn. I send in return one stalk with five good ears on it, and if you improve said corn for the space of two years and return me a stalk with six ears, raised on the pleasant fields of Oakley farm, I will try to be able in two years after to return you a stalk raised on the fertile fields of Busrow farm with seven ears. With due respect and esteem, I am yours,. &c.
W. S. GIBBES.
OLD COL. GILL.
OAKLEY FARM, SEPT. 18, 1834.
Old Friend—I have to thank you for your note and stalk of corn with five good ears upon it and must acknowledge that you can beat me with my own seed, and that I can shew nothing like it; nor could I hope on my poor ridge of land to compete with your excellent farming on your flat bottoms. 'Tis now about 18 years since I first began to improve my corn, by selecting my seed from those stalks only which bore two ears; and the first year had difficulty to find as many stalks with two ears, as would give me seed; but now in a tolerable season, it is difficult to find a few stalks even with less than two, and from that to three and four good ears. The peculiar quality of my seed has shown itself particularly this year when my whole crop has suffered so severely with drought, yet you see two ears or a struggle for it wherever my seed was sown; but two fields sown each with different seed that had been highly recommended to me, there is scarcely a double eared stalk to be found in either—the few there are I shall carefully preserve and endeavor to improve,
I like the kind of grain rather better than that I am now cultivating. I shall preserve your five ears, carefully also—plant them separately—and next year, Deo volente, let you know the result—though I can hardly expect my land can support and bring to maturity such prolific offspring.
Believe me as ever, with regard, yours, &c.,
W. S. GIBBES.
OLD COL. GILL.