freezing. When fully ripe, seed corn should be cut and dried on the stalk before husking. If the weather is damp and unfavourable to drying in the shock, the seed should be dried on the ear by artificial means; it should be protected from freezing until the cob is quite dry and brittle. A dark germ with a wrinkled covering shows that the seed has been injured by frost.
The millets are among the most ancient agricultural plants, grown from time immemorial in Asia and parts of Europe, where the seed is used chiefly as human food. In America they are grown as forage plants. In Canada they are seldom used in the regular rotation, but are grown as catch crops.
All millets require a rich, loamy soil, stored with plant food near the surface and containing a liberal amount of moisture. Under favourable conditions the growth is rapid and a good stand is obtained in a short time. The crop can be used for hay, pasture or ensilage. The numerous varieties grown in Canada and the United States belong to four species widely different in general appearance.
When the sunne shineth, make hay.—John Heywood, Proverbes, 1546.
Some persons recommend that, before housing the corn, a bramble frog should be hung up by one of the hind legs at the threshold of the granary. To me it appears that the most important pre-caution of all is to house the grain at the proper time; for if it is unripe when cut, and not sufficiently firm, or if it is got in in a heated state, it follows of necessity that noxious insects will breed in it.—Pliny, Natural History, 23-79.
Accuse not nature, she hath done her part;
Do thou but thine, and be not diffident
Of wisdom; she deserts thee not, if thou
Dismiss her not, when most thou need'st her nigh.
—Milton, Paradise Lost, 1669.
If you sow one Ground still with the same Corn, (I mean not the same Corn that grew upon the same Ground, but the same kind of Grain, as Wheat, Barley, &c.) it will prosper but poorly; therefore besides the resting of the Ground, you must vary the seed.—Bacon, Natural History, 1625.
As touching the various ways in which the earth itself needs treatment, either as being too moist for sowing, or too salt for planting, these and the processes of cure are known to all men: how in one case the superfluous water is drawn off by trenches, and in the other the salt corrected by being mixed with various non-salt bodies, moist or dry. Yet here again, in spite of knowledge, some are careful of these matters, others negligent.—Xenophon, The Economist, 434-355 B.C.