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136   FODDER AND PASTURE PLANTS.

a moist and not too hot climate but can be grown in comparatively dry and hot regions if the soil is rich and holds some moisture.

Varieties: Rape is either annual or biennial. The annual varieties are grown principally for their seed and are called summer rape; winter rape, such as Dwarf Essex, is biennial. Only the latter varieties are important as fodder plants for Canada.

Habits of growth: The development of Dwarf Essex and other fodder varieties is not dissimilar to that of turnips. The seed should be sown at about the same rate per acre—two to four pounds—and at about the same time, either in drills or broadcast. The foliage is ready for pasture during the autumn. If protected against severe cold during the winter, the remaining stalks produce seed the following year.

Agricultural value: Rape has a high feeding value for sheep, pigs, store and fattening cattle. As it is very succulent—that is, contains a large percentage of water   it is difficult to cure it into hay and when cured it is of comparatively little value as the leaves crumble to powder. It is principally used for pasture and to some extent as a soiling crop. It is not much used for ensilage.

The rape is by no means difficult to please in soil, for it will grow almost anywhere, indeed where nothing else can be sown. It readily derives nutriment from fogs and hoar-frosts, and grows to a marvellous size; I have seen them weighing upwards of forty pounds.—Pliny, Natural History, 2579-

with first approach of light we must be risen,

And at our pleasant labour, to reform

Yon flowery arbours, yonder alleys green, *   *   *   *   *   *

 

 

That mock our scant manuring, and require

More hands than ours to lop their wanton growth:

Those blossons also   *   *   *   *

That lie bestrown unsightly and unsmooth,

Ask riddance, if we mean to tread with ease.—Milton, Paradise Lost, 1669.

   Some old men in Surrey    report, That they knew the first Gardiners that came into these parts, to plant Cabbages, Collefowers, and to sowe Turnips, Carrels, and Parsnips, to sowe Raith or (early ripe) Rape, Pease, all of which at that time were great rarities, we having few, or none in England, but what came from Holland and Flanders. These Gardiners with much ado procured a plot of good ground, and gave no lesse than 8 pound per Acre; yet the Gentleman was not content, fearing they would spoil his ground ; because they did use to dig it. So ignorant were we of Gardening in those dayes.—Samuel Hartlib, The Compleat Husbandman, 1659.


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