Farmer's Magazine, 10: 310-311 (1809)

On Peat-Ashes
A Friend

In the county of Bedford (at Flitwick), peat-ashes are sold as manure, and are used as a top dressing for clovers, and sometimes for barley at the rate of from 40 to 60 Winchester bushels per acre. They are usually spread during the month of March on clover: and on the surface of the barley lands after the seed is sown. Peat ashes are also admirably useful as manure for turnips, and are easily drilled with or over the seed, by means of a drill-box connected with a loaded cart.

The crumbs or morsels of peat which break from the spadefuls, are carefully preserved at the places alluded to, and are sold for the same purposes as peat-ashes. But, of peat thus pulverized, a larger quantity per acre is used than of ashes. The method of burning peat into ashes, is nearly as follows.

After the quantity required has been cast, a portion sufficient to kindle a large heap (suppose two cart-loads) is dried, as much as if intended for winter's use. A conical pile is then built and fired; and as soon as the flame or smoke makes its appearance at any of the crevices, it is kept back by fresh peat, just sufficiently dry to be free from water; and thus the pile is continually increased, until it has burnt thirty or forty loads, or as much more as may be required. The slower the process the better; but in case of too languid a consumption, the heap should be stirred by a stick, whenever the danger of extinction seems probable.

In case of rain, the workman should be prepared with some coarse thick turf, with which to cover the surface of the cone.

Perhaps the information now given may be satisfactory to A.B. (see p. 177, No. 34 of the Farmer's Magazine). I am, &c.—A FRIEND