Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/104

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92
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

The beet-root, as a biennial plant, enters readily into rotation with annual plants, and with those plants known to exhaust the soil. It precedes barley, wheat, rye, and oats, and prepares the soil in a marvelous manner for cereals, the subsequent fertilization of which prepares the soil for the beet. The land must not receive fertilizing treatment during the season of the growth of the beet-root, but must be well prepared — not too light, not too moist; it should be warm, rich in humus, deep and free from stones, like a garden. The form of the beet desired for greater sugar extraction would, with this physical condition, be long and tapering.

In this collection of data, derived from the best authorities in Europe, where the cultivation of the beet is best managed, it will not be possible to speak of the meteorological conditions necessary to the perfect growth of the root for sugar-producing purposes, except to say that the principal conditions to be studied in this connection are those of the temperature and moisture with which the plant may be surrounded. The amount of moisture at the disposition of the plant, at all seasons of its growth, is the most important factor in its normal development. Temperature has an influence: if it be too low or too high, it has the same power of evil as a deficiency of moisture. Various sections of the United States north of Mason and Dixon's line, where the rainfall is regular, like New England, with its long Indian summer, present all the conditions to produce the sugar-beet to perfection.

The cultivation of the root, and the latest approved processes for extracting the sugar, will be considered hereafter.


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EGGS IN CHEMISTRY AND COMMERCE.

By P. L. SIMMONDS, F.L.S.

WHAT a subject scientific research has found in eggs as a study, witness the works of Moquin-Tandon and O. des Murs.[1] These publications serve to show how the oologic characteristics may assist in the methodical classification of birds, what relation there is between the ^g^ and the organic conformation of the bird, and what particular habits of birds may be gathered from a study of their eggs and nests.

Some birds only lay a single egg, others many. The largest ordinary number, on the average, is five or seven. The species laying less are more rare than the species laying a larger number. Those in a state of liberty produce, on the average, twelve to fifteen. But in domestic poultry the number is larger. Farm-

  1. "Traité Général d'Oologie Ornithologique," par P. O. des Murs.