Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/264

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254
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

"In grain farming, only grain or seed should be sold from the farm, all clover, straw and stalks being returned to the land in order to maintain the supply of organic matter and nitrogen, which are just as important as limestone and phosphorus;[1] and in live-stock farming all produce should be used for feed and bedding and all manure carefully saved and returned to the land, preferably within a day or two after it is produced, in order to prevent the waste of plant food."

"Now, do you understand all this?" asked the old Doctor.

"I don't," replied King Corn.

"And I don't," added Queen Clover, "but I have faith in Doctor Science, and I think we should follow his prescription. I know very well that I can't do as much as has been expected of me in the past. I can't make food out of nothing, and the king can't live on just air and water; and the soil is becoming so worn and hard that I can't even make a good bed for him, especially when I'm half starved myself most of the time."

King Corn agreed to this. He had long supposed that Queen Clover could get from the soil and air all of the food they would ever need, but he now remembered how he himself had failed in this as a bachelor, and he felt that Clover had been such a good queen that anything which Doctor Science prescribed should be provided, because above all else he desired to have the queen restored to health and happiness, for he did not care to try to live without her again. On the other hand, they both agreed that they would test the doctor's prescription on part of the land on which they lived and have also some land without such treatment, in order to compare the results.

There were three very uniform fields of typical prairie land which had been in permanent pasture for many years, but on which King Com had recently lived for three years in succession, and they had produced for him as an average of those years the following yields:

Field A 63 bushels per acre.
Field B 63 bushels per acre.
Field C 66 bushels per acre.

They were now sown for three years to oats, clover and cowpeas, after which each field was divided into three parts and, in accordance with the advice of Doctor Science, limestone and phosphorus were applied, not to all of the fields, however, because a test was to be made of the treatment. Thus no treatment was applied to Field A; limestone alone was applied to Field B, and both limestone and phosphorus to Field C. On all three fields the second crop of clover was plowed under just in proportion to what grew on the land, and in the later years the corn stalks,

  1. Phosphorus is the valuable element of plant food contained in natural rock phosphate and also in bones, and large amounts of phosphorus are required for clover as well as for corn and other crops.