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brought to within 1 ft. of the top surface, and, in clayey soils, the remainder filled with a porous earth: they are attended with little expense where stone of any sort can be procured.
Wood faggots, &c., are sometimes used for draining; but, from their liability to decay, thus destroying the drains by the process of decomposition, they cannot be recommended as permanent, although they act well for some time.
In some cases ditches are preferable to covered drains, such as bogs or moss with a soft bottom; for, should stones be used, from their liability to sink, the drain would be rendered useless. Their depth and wideness will depend upon the quantity of water they have to carry, and the nature of the soil and situation : the fall should be such that the water may run off without stagnation. In digging them, the earth thrown out should not remain upon the sides, but be removed to the nearest hollows: if this is not attended to, their use will be in a great measure counteracted, as placing it upon the side is a preventive of the surface water entering the drain ; its weight will also have a tendency to make the sides give way.
Hollow earth drains are sometimes used with good results, to collect water from the subsoil, or receive rising water at their base. The method of making them is simply this : dig them perpendicularly to the desired depth, taking out the last spit with a spade 6 in. narrower than the other part. A shoulder, as it were, is thus left on each side, on which some good strong sods are laid, with the grass side downwards. When the water lodges in a stratum of loose earth, the operative part of the drain should be lined with turf, to prevent the sides from falling in, which would otherwise choke up the channel ; the joints on each side to be left sufficiently open to permit the water to filter freely.
There is, perhaps, no department of rural improvement on which so much money has been expended to so little advantage as on draining. And why? Because the work is often carried oli without at all considering the nature or cause from which the water proceeds. One drain, judiciously conducted, may be as effectual as twenty run at random ; and it is the case with many to set to work and fill the ground with drains in all directions, or wherever the least symptoms of moisture appear, while by a single drain, properly directed to the lodgement of the water whose ramifications caused those symptoms, the entire site might have been effectually laid dry.
I have seen instances of this kind, and shall here take the liberty of mentioning one, which occurred at the Earl of Mansfield's, Scone Palace, Perthshire. The soil was of a soft peaty nature, with a subsoil of white tenacious clay, 2 ft. to 3 ft. deep; under this lay a stratum of a sandy nature, which contained the water. The first attempt proved a failure, inasmuch as the drains were not deep enough to reach the source from which the water proceeded. It being desirable to have this ground in a state for cultivation, an examination took place, and the stratum found which contained the water ; then drains were made to the depth required, and the outlets deepened accordingly. This answered completely.
Had the boring auger been first used in this case, it would have saved the expense of a second draining. What would we think of the miner, in search of mineral and fossil substances, commencing to sink his pit without the use of the auger, to ascertain whether what he wanted was there or not? We should be inclined to say, he was working in the dark. The borer may be as advantageously used for finding the reservoirs and channels of subterraneous water, which is of the greatest importance to those who engage in the draining of land.
It is necessary to bore in several places in order to obtain a competent knowledge of the various lodgements of the water, and at the different depths. When these have been ascertained, the next thing to be done is to run a main discharging drain in the lowest part of the field of improvement, and to a sufficient depth to draw off the water from its deepest recess. Sometimes this will be sufficient; if not, another must be made to the next deepest water, and in the lowest situation, in the best line for
As the object here, as well as from springs, is the carrying off under, not surface, water, it will be unnecessary to fill above the drains with stone rubble, or anything of that nature. When water proceeds from springs, the same method as detailed above should be adopted; namely, the line of draining them should be on a level with the lowermost springs, thus keeping the others in a great measure dry. If a sufficient outfall cannot be commanded to carry off the water, a well may be sunk a little below the lowest lodgement of water, and the water may be raised with a mill, or pump; thus obtaining by art what nature had not accomplished. This is never. attempted unless in extraordinary cases, as the expense incurred would not warrant its adoption.
The quality and value of lands depend entirely on the quality of the soils of which they are composed. If these are sufficiently absorbent and open to prevent a surcharge at the feeding fibres of plants, yet sufficiently retentive of moisture to prevent the too rapid escape of rain-water through the plant-feeding system, the land is of superior quality. But if, vice versa, the several strata are of so loose a texture as to permit the rain-water to pass through quickly, without being in a sufficient degree arrested by the soil, it is of inferior quality. Therefore, due precaution should be taken before commencing an undertaking on which, in a great measure, the success of every branch of horticulture and agriculture depends; and, therefore, it becomes a matter of the greatest importance that every circumstance should be investigated, for the purpose of discovering the cause from which this or that proceeds. That some land may be over-drained, I admit; but this is of rare occurrence, and a remedy soon presents itself; that is, shutting up the mouths of the drains when necessary, and thus forcing the water back whence it proceeded. This may be continued for any length of time, and may prove beneficial in dry seasons. However, I consider stagnant water, in all cases, to be injurious to vegetation ; and plants can neither perspire nor luxuriate when saturated with this element. Where surface soil rests on a subsoil moderately porous, both will hold water by capillary attraction, and what is not so retained will sink into the inferior strata by its own gravity; but, when the subsoil is retentive, it will resist water, and ultimately by accumulating it in the surface soil, cause diseases which are detrimental, and would soon prove fatal, to the vege
Exotic Nursery, King's Road, April 4. 1840.
Art. VI. Description of a Transplanting Machine invented by James
Kidd, Gardener to Lord Kinnaird, Rossie Priory Gardens, Perthshire. By J. Kidd.
I SEND a miniature model of a machine which I lately invented for the removal of large shrubs, and which, after repeated experiments, I can confidently recommend as admirably adapted for that purpose.
[This machine may be described as a gigantic 5-pronged fork, mounted on a pair of wheels and axle, the latter serving as a fulcrum for lifting up the tree out of the hole formed by digging round it, and, with the wheels, facilitating the removal of the plant to the place of its destination. The length of the axle between the wheels is 2 ft.; the axle 4 in. deep, and 24 in. thick: the handle, or lever, is 10 ft. long, mortised into the axle ; it is 6 in. deep and 3} in. thick: the prongs are 2 ft. long and 21 in. deep: the wheels are 1 ft. 4 in. in diameter. All the parts are of wood, except the prongs, which ought to be of wrought iron, and firmly fixed into the axle with screw-nuts. The handle, or lever, has two iron braces to fix it the more firmly to the axle; and at the extreme end it has an iron loop, to which to attach a cord for pulling it down, when the prongs are under the ball of the tree to be lifted up.]
I have tried the power of this machine in the lifting of large
Portugal and common laurels, and have found that, by its as. sistance, the same number of hands can with ease perform twice as much work as they could possibly accomplish in the ordinary way. You may form some conception of its powers from the fact, that by its means four men can lift the plants as fast as three can make pits and plant them again. Another advantage attending the use of this machine is, that it does not in the slightest degree injure the roots; an advantage that cannot fail to be appreciated by every practical man, who has been accustomed to the old system of pulling the plant from side to side, in order to loosen it sufficiently in the hole, thereby unavoidably breaking and cracking the roots. By means of this machine, also, the ball of earth is in most instances preserved entire, as by its strong lever power the whole mass can be raised at In using it, the plant is prepared for lifting in the ordinary way, by tying up the branches, and digging round the ball at a distance sufficient for the preservation of the roots; the chief difficulty I at first experienced in the use of it was in getting it introduced below the ball. The first method I tried for the accomplishment of this object was, to drive it in with two wooden mallets, two men standing one on each side for the purpose of using them; but I afterwards found that I could more easily insert it by means of two levers held in a sloping direction, close to the axle, and which were pushed forward as the pole was wrought gently up and down. Before proceeding to work, however, the wheels must be taken off, in order that the machine may be placed in as horizontal a position as possible, and by doing so a twofold advantage will be gained; the prongs can be inserted deep into the earth, and greater additional lever power will be obtained. After the machine is properly placed under the ball, the pole must be lifted up high enough to admit a square piece of wood or other hard substance to be placed immediately below the junction of the pole and the axle, to act as a fulcrum or heel for the pressure of the lever; and, when the pole is pressed down, the plant is immediately raised and the axle elevated to a sufficient height to allow the wheels to be again put on.
It is almost unnecessary to mention that the sides of the hole should be sloped down, in order that the plant may the more easily be drawn out. A mat or piece of canvass tied round the ball below the prongs will be useful in keeping the ball together; and after the plant has been fairly placed upon the machine, no difficulty will be found in conveying it to any distance.
This machine, although I have as yet only used it for the purposes above specified, I have no doubt will be found equally applicable to other horticultural purposes ; for example, fruit trees, whose sickly appearance and deficiency of crops indicate that they have been by mistake too deeply planted, may by its means be raised nearer to the surface, thus at once with ease and safety bringing their roots into a region more conducive to the health and fruitfulness of the trees. It may likewise be found useful in removing large plants from green-houses or conservatories, such as orange trees, aloes, &c. It should be made of the best malleable iron, with the exception of the wheels and the pole; the former may be made of cast iron or wood, and the latter of any material that may be found convenient, only, if made of wood, it will require to be of the cleanest-grown ash or elm. The whole expense does not exceed 41.
Rossie Priory, Inchture, Perthshire, Jan. 14. 1840.
Art. VII. Notice of an Espalier Rail put up in Cossey Hall Gar
dens. By J. Wighton, Gardener there. An espalier railing in Cossey Hall Gardens was put up there in the year 1830. It differs from any that I have seen. It is made of iron, except the posts at the ends, which are of oak. It cost less than some I have seen of wood, which in a few years would go to decay. The chief feature in which it differs from all others which I have met with, is in the horizontal direction of the iron rods. All other espaliers which I have observed, whether of iron or wood, have been on the old plan of perpendicular stakes or poles. The best I have seen, except the one in Cossey Gardens, was planned by the late Mr. Hay of Edinburgh, but it was still on the upright plan, giving the gardens a disagreeable caged appearance. This is not the effect of the espalier which I am describing. For the rods running horizontally, as the branches grow along them, the rods are concealed. The upright iron divisions which support the rods are seen, it is true; but they are very thin, and placed 12 ft. asunder.
A rail of this construction is very simple, and will last very long, if kept well painted. In Cossey Gardens there are 230 yards of this espalier. I have tried it with some of the best varieties of French pears, and found them ripen well. I have frequently seen good espalier rails with common apples and pears, that would have done well on standards.
The only objection I have heard made against the horizontal rail of which I am speaking is, that there would be some trouble in making the trees shoot out their branches at the exact distances required. But to this I should answer, that I have never found it more troublesome than to train horizontal branches along the courses of a brick wall. And it is one great
a advantage of this espalier, that the branches can be so easily trained along its horizontal iron rods.
Cossey Hall Gardens, April 10. 1839.