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|ANIMAL INDEX - OLD VET TREATMENTS AND REMEDIES.
FARMING INDEX - OLD FARM PRACTICES AND REMEDIES FOR ANIMALS, PLANTS AND FIXING THINGS.
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AGRICULTURE : FARx\lS AND FARMING.
Tobacco is a word of uncertain derivation.
Webster and Worcester take the word from the
Indian tabaco, the tube or pipe in which the In
dians or Caribbees smoked the plant. Sir Wal
ter Raleigh enjoys the credit of introducing to
the other continent the use which he found the
aborigines making of it in this. We use the
word credit, although there are multitudes of
people who regard his achievement as worthy of
blame rather than of credit. And unnumbered
articles and books and verbal pleas have been
made for and against its use. The genus bears
the name Nicotiana, so named from Nicot,
French ambassador to Portugal, who first brought
to it the attention of scientific men, and who did
much to render its use fashionable in France.
The plants have large, broad leaves; a five-
parted calyx; a funnel-shaped, five-lobed corolla,
and five stamens; the flowers growing in pani
cles at the top of the stem ; the fruit a two-celled,
five-valved, many-seeded capsule. The species
are mostly herbaceous plants, rarely shrubby,
with large broad leaves, and everywhere covered
with clammy hairs. They are natives of warm
countries, most of them American, although
some are found in the East Indies. They all
possess the narcotic property, on account of
which a few of them are extensively cultivated.
It resides in almost all parts of the plant, although
the leaves are almost exclusively used. The plant
is about 5 or 6 feet high, erect, with lanceolate,
sessile leaves, 6 to 18 inches long, and se-colored
flowers, the throat of the corolla in flated, the
segments pointed. There are numerous varieties,
differing more or less in the size and form of the
leaves and in the form and color of the flowers,
some of which are regarded by some botanists as
Vast quantities of tobacco are raised in the
United States, vast quantities are exported to the
continent of Europe, and a great deal imported.
If all sold as Havana were really Havana, the
importations would be still larger. The produc
tion in the United States, according to the
Census, was for
1907 ..................... 698,126,000 pounds.
1908 ..................... 718,061,380 “
1909 ..................... 949,357.000 “
1910 ..................... 984,349,000 “
Kentucky, North Carolina and Virginia are
the leading States; Kentucky returning 56,-
501,196 pounds in 1850 and 381,024,000 in 1910;
and Virginia 56,803,227 in 1850 and 124,800,-
ooo in 1910, and North Carolina, which pro
duced in 1910, 129,600,000 pounds on an acre
age of 216,000; 4,800 pounds more than Vir
ginia. Of the other States growing tobacco,
in 1910, there were reported in
Connecticut ................ 23,182,ooo pounds.
Illinois ..................... 1,264,000 “
Indiana .................... 23,760,ooo “
Maryland .................. 19,665,000 “
Massachusetts.............. 7,612,ooo “
Missouri ................... 7,875,ooo “
New York ................. 7,375,ooo “
Ohio ...................... 75,o87,ooo “
Pennsylvania ............... 49,500,000 “
South Carolina ............. 18,9oo,ooo “
Tennessee .................. 64,6oo,ooo “
West Virginia............. 12,8oo,ooo "
Wisconsin ................. 31,71o,ooo “
All other .................. 5,595,ooo “
The cultivation of tobacco can be carried on
in a range almost as great as that of Indian
corn, but as it is destroyed by frost there is a
great risk in northern latitudes. It requires
a rich loose soil, and the strongest manures
are advantageous. The influence of soil, cli
mate and manures on the quality of the pro
duce is very great. Vegetable manures are
best for tobacco intended for smoking; animal
manures are preferred for that which is to be
made into snuff. In the Northern States the seed
is sown in a hotbed, protected from frost by
mats, and the plants are put out in rows from two
feet to three feet apart in the field. The ground
is frequently hoed and stirred. Where the plants
are not intended for seed, the top is usually
broken off, so as to prevent flowering, that its
whole strength may be directed to the leaves.
THE FRIEND OF ALL
When the leaves begin to become yellow, or
are marked with yellow blotches, the plants are
cut down and hung up in a large barn to dry.
The cultivation of tobacco is comparatively easy,
although a warm climate suits it best. The
usual plan is to sow the seed in seed-beds of rich
soil, and, as it is extremely minute, it is first
mixed largely with sand or wood-ashes to assist
in spreading it thinly. In Virginia this is usu
ally done in the first week in January. After
the seed-beds have been carefully prepared and
sown, small branches of trees are laid over, to
protect the seed, when it germinates, from the
effects of frost; but these are removed as soon as
can be done with safety, and the plants then grow
rapidly, and are ready for transplanting into the
fields about the beginning of June. The land in
the fields is very carefully prepared, and small hil
locks are raised up in rows; each is about a foot in
diameter, and flattened at the top. With the first
appearance of rain, the plants are carefully raised
from the seed-beds and planted, one on each
hillock. Only wet weather will do for planting,
so that this operation often lasts until the end of
July. When planted, the tobacco-crop requires
much careful attention to weeding, and a watchful
eye to prevent the ravages of various insect ene
mies. Much of this latter work is done by flocks
of turkeys. As soon as the plants begin to throw
up the flower-shoot it is nipped off; otherwise it
would weaken the leaves. This process is neg
lected in some countries, especially in Turkey
and Greece, where small leaves are preferred, and
where in some cases, as in the celebrated Latakia
tobacco, both leaves, buds and flowers are used.
The time generally chosen for cutting it is
midday, or when the sun is powerful and the
morning and evening dews absent. The cut
ting is done by hand, and only such plants are
chosen as are ready, which is known by a clammy
exudation which forms over the leaf, often giv
ing it a spotted appearance. If the plants are
very large, the stalk is often split down to facili
tate the drying. They are then removed from
the field to the tobacco-house, around which are
erected light scaffolds, to which the plants are
suspended, generally by passing a thin stick
through a split in the stalk of each, and so plac
ing a number of plants on each stick, just near
enough to prevent them touching each other.
After some time hanging in the open air, the
plants on the sticks are removed, and suspended
in a similar way inside the curing-house until
the drying is completed. The leaves are next
removed from the stalks, and all bad ones re
jected. The chosen ones are tied up in bundles
called hands, and these are packed in hogsheads,
enormous pressure being applied in the packing.
These hogsheads are 48 inches in length and 32
inches at the head, containing from 650 pounds
of the lightest Maryland to 1500 of Ohio.
There is a State inspection in nearly all the
States where tobacco is grown, and the grade
branded by the inspector determines the value.
Nearly half in value of all the tobacco grown
is manufactured into cigars. In the revenue
system here 25 pounds of rough leaves are
allowed for 1000 cigars ; and these cigars when
ready for sale will average 15 to 17 pounds per
1000. Tobacco is the subject of heavy taxation
in all civilized countries, and in some its sale is a
government monopoly. In this country every
form of preparation of the leaf for consumption
is taxed, and the Internal Revenue Department
is supposed to keep its eye open on tobacco every
Connecticut Seed-Leaf is a well-known variety; so
are Imported Havana, Virginia and Kentucky.
The General Grant is the earliest tobacco in
cultivation; produces immense foliage, of fine
texture, small-veined and elastic ; ripens as far
north as Minnesota.
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