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How to Farm

Read before Friendship Grange No. 570, February 26th, 1856
(Iowa Weekly Visitor - Marengo, Iowa)

I take it for granted that every one now
Who intends to grow wheat has got through with the plow -
That his land is all tilled and ready to seed,
Then at it and with it, right off and with speed.

Whether seeder or drill, put it in pretty deep,
Then harrow and roll it in order to keep
The seed bed well packed and the moisture all in,
For that is what counts when it comes to the bin.

But when done with the roller you mustn't quit so,
For the Storm King gets rampant, the north westers blew,
And your farm will move off on the wings of the wind
And leave but a streak of the black dust behind.

You must harrow again in order to break
The flat level surface as smooth as a cake;
And when it gets up about six inches high,
You may roll it again and then bid it goodbye.

Next in with your oats just as soon as you can
For I'm fully convinced 'tis an excellent plan.
All those early sown most undoubtedly will
Be ahead of the rest and be a ___ to ill.

Right here let me say, when the trees show their bud,
You must steal a half day and attend to the spud;
Have the tubers all cut and the ground well manured,
Then attend to the rules and your crop is insured.

____________________________ understand,
Well rotted manure scattered on the land,
Then plow it right under five inches or so,
And in every third furrow you plant as you go.

Fifteen inches apart, nothing less and no more.
Then harrow and roll and then harrow once more.
____ planted, then tended, in spite of the moon,
I'll help you to eat new potatoes in June.

You must not forget ere the chances are lost,
To sow union seed while yet there is frost;
For it needs to be frosted or _____ or both,
To make what we call a magnificent growth.

Be sure and remember among other chores,
To start your tomatoes and cabbage indoors;
And then get the choicest plants to set out
To make a success of your ketchup and krout.

Then dig 'round the pie plant and sow early peas,
And spend a whole week in setting out trees,
The weather permitting, you may next try your luck,
In radishes and beets and other garden truck.

Published: 26-Apr-2004