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The Trench System

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The trench method of raising potatoes, which originated with Mr. Elbert S. Carinan, editor of The Rural New Yorker, promisea to work a radical change in the old systein. Progressive farmers in various section have sncceeded in raising phenomenal yields by the trench system. Numbered with big yields recorded is that of 738 bushels on one acre by Charles B. Coy, of Presque Isle, Me., who gained the first prize at the American agricultural contest in 1889. In small plots potatoes have been raised at the rate of 1,000 bushels per acre. In his book, "The New Potato Culture," Mr. Carman gives the following directions to those who want to make a trial of the trench system: A common plow may be used to form the trenches by plowing both ways, forming an open or dead furrow, or a shovel or listing plow may be used. Let the bottom of the trenches be ten inches wide at least. This bottom should be mellowed and the seed potatoes placed one foot apart. Cover them with two inches or more of soil. Then apply the mulch, scattering it evenly over the surface soil of the trench, and then sow the complete potato fertilizer at the rate of 500 pounds or more to the acre. Finally nll the trench as lightly as possible with the return soii and give level cultivation. The mulch referred to may be of cut straw or hay, or similar material. As to the depth of the trench, Mr. Carman thinks it does not pay to plant at a depth beyond six inches. Mr. W. J. Sturgis, of Wyoming, who won one of The Amencan Agrieulturist's prizes, writes to The Rural New Yorker of his plan of planting by the trench system. He says: "I plowed the land six inches deep, worked it up fine and made trenches two and one-half feet apart, six inches deep, planted by hand eight inches apart in the trenches, covered with a garden rake two inches deep; after the plants were np I raked more soil in the trenches, and repeated this until the vines were large enough to plow with a single shovel plow. I plowed them twice, and by that time the vines were so thick the land could not be worked any more without injuring them. I use no small potatoes for seed; but piek smooth, good shaped tubers, cat off and throw away the seed ends, then cut from one to three eyes to the piece, making the pieces as large as the potatoes will admit of. I think it best to cut, plant and cover the same day." Mr. Coy, whose yield was 738 bnshels per acre, scattered on the bottom of the trenches, after these had been laid off for the seed, 1,100 pounds of commercial potato fertilizer and mixed this well in with the soil. At the time of the first hoeing he applied 900 ponnds more of fertilizer. His land was laid off in trenches two feet nine inches apart, and the seed was dropped twelve inches apart. It was covered by the hoe to a deprh of two or three inches.