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Soil Culture

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lt wil never hurt an intelligent man to know why hc does thiugs. Rather wiü he profit in this, that he can bettur adapt himself to circumstauoes. Thore are in Horticultura hosts ot' praotiees - all good practices - about which none of us know the roasons, or if we reason at all, reason wrongly ; and henee we often do work which ruight as well be undone for all the good it is to us. There are innumerable things in greenhouse building aud greenhouse warming, in plant growing and fruit culture, the labor on which is absolutely thrown away, simply by doing what otliers have done, without knowing why they did it; and yet the practices may have been vury good in themselves at the time and for the purpose, whatever it may have been, but of no avail to tho purposes of the modern imitators. It is not long since the writer wastalking to one of the leadin g scientists of Europe, and, wishiug to learn the present condition of physiological science, introduced the topic of root-growth. It was contended by our really learned friend, that roots could only grow well when in very loose soil, which soil must be very loose in order to " admit air to the roots," for, " without a free communication of the roots with the atmospheric gases, rapid growth was impossible." He was at once rei'erred to grapa, vines, which for mere experiment, had been set in what might be termed a turnpike road. lt was, in tact, the side of a road which had been heavily stoned, and over which horses and heavy carts have been running for twenty years. The " turnpike " had to be torn opeu with a piek to admit the grape vine roots, and the material picked. out, filled in again after the roots were set in. Yet these vines make au aimual growth of tweuty feet, and bear fruit ot the very best description. The grower top-dresses with rich manure, prunes " according to the art," and so forth. The plants hae the best professional treatmeiit, but, " loose soil to admit the air " they have not. Our friend looked at the illustration shook his head, and passed on. It is a question whether the circumstance wiü ever be called up again to his mind. He will yet teach that plants " must have loose soil," as streuuously as ever. He will no doubt thiiik that one or two instance8 are exceptions ; and yet on " one or two facts," or experimenls, as they are generally called, by uierely "one or two," but often by one original observer, most of the current literature called " vegetible phyt-iology " is foundud. If " ont) ur two" plants can grow magnificently in hard, solid soil, but with an abuudance of good fertilizing matter, without boing " loose to admit the air," why may not a thousand ': But these one or two facts are not the only ones. The writer is in favor of plowing and digging our soil, very much as before. There are maiiy reasons why we must do so ; but if we ever believed that the mere loosening of the soil was to be one of these reasons, it is clear trom these facts, and trom facts which we gave some months ago in a similar article, we íhould be worse than an idiot to continue on in that belief. Weshall have to dig and plow and cultívate for many reason s; we often do so now because we think the roots require this ; but where there is no other reason than this, we may save ourselves this uiuch labor and expense. With abundant plant food they will cake


Old News
Michigan Argus