Gardeners Dictionary: Rubia
containing The Best and Newest Methods of Cultivating and Improving The Kitchen, Fruit, Flower Garden, and Nursery; As also for Performing the Practical Parts of Agriculture: Including The Management of Vineyards, With the Methods of Making and Preserving Wine, According to the present Practice of The most skilful Vignerons in the several Wine Countries in Europe.
Together with Directions for propagating and improving, From real Practice and Experience, All sorts of Timber Trees.
The Eight Edition,
Revised and Altered according to the latest System of Botany; and Embellished with several Copper-Plates, which were not in some former Editions.
By Philip Miller, F. R. S.
Gardener tothe Worshipdul Company of Apothecaries, at their Botanic Garden in Chelsea, and Member of the Botanic Academy at Florence.
Printed for the Author;
M. DCC. LXVIII.
RUBIA. Tourn. Inst. R. G. 113. tab. 38. Lin. Gen. Plant. 119. [takes its name from its red colour, because the root of this plant is used in dyeing a red colour.] Madder; in French, Garance
The CHARACTERS are,
The empalement of the flower is small, cut into four segments, and sits upon the germen. The flower has one bell-shaped petal having no tube, but is divided into four parts. It hath four awn-shaped stamina which are shorter than the petals, terminated by single summits; and a twin germen under the flower, supporting a slender stule divided into two parts upward, and crowned by two headed stigmas. The germen afterward become two smooth berries joined together, each having one roundih seed with a navel.
This genus of plants is ranged in the first section of Linnæus's fourth class, which contains those plants whose flowers have four stamina and one style.
The SPECIES are,
1. RUBIA (Tinctorum) foliis senis lanceolatis supernè glabris. Madder with six spear-shaped leaves in whorls, whose upper surfaces are smooth. Rubia tinctorum sativa. C. B. P. 333. Cultivated Dyer's Madder.
2. RUBIA (Sylvestris) foliis inferioribus fenis, supernè quaternis binisve, utrinque asperis. Madder with the lower leaves growing by sixes round the stalks, and the upper ones by fours or pairs, which are rough on both sides. Tubia sylvestris aspera, quæ sylvestris Dioscoridis. C. B. P. 333. Rough wld Madder of Dioscorides.
3. RUBIA (Peregrina) foliis quaternis. Prod. Leyd. 254. Madder with four leaves which are placed round the stalks. Rubia quadrifolia asperrima lucida peregrina. H. L. 523. Foreign four-leaved Madder, with shining rough leaves.
The first sort which is cultivated for the root, which is used in dyeing and staining of linens, grows naturally in the Levant. This hath a perennial root and an annual stalk; the root is composed of many long, thick, succulent fibres, almost as large as a man's little finger; these are joined at the top in a head, like the roots of Asparagus, and root very deep into the ground; I have taken up roots, whose strong fibres have been more than three feet long; from the upper part (or head of the root) come out many side roots, which extend just under the surface of the ground to a great distance, whereby it propagates very fast; for these send up a great number of shoots, which, if carefully taken off in the spring, soon after they are above ground, become so many plants. These roots are of a dark colour on their outside, somewhat transparent, and have a yellowis red pith in the middle, which is tough and of a bitterish taste; from the root arise many large, four-cornered, jointed stalks, which in good land will grow five or six feet long, and if supported, sometimes seven or eight; they are armed with short herbaceous prickles, and at each joint are placed five or six spear-shaped leaves, about three inches long, and near one broad in the middle, drawing to a point at each end; their upper surfaces are smooth, but their midrib on the under side are armed with rough herbaceous spines; the leaves sit close to the branches in whorld. From the joints of the stalk come out the branches, which sustain the flowers; they are placed by pairs opposite, each pair croffing the other; these have a few small leaves toward the bottom, which are by threes, and upward by pairs opposite; the branches are terminated by loose branching spikes of yellow flowers, which are cut into four segments resembling stars. These appear in June, and are sometimes succeeded by seeds which seldom ripen in England.
The second sort grows naturally in Spain, and in the south of France; this hath perennial roots like those of the first sort, but are much larger; the stalks of this are smaller than those of the first sort, and are almost smooth; their lower parts are garnished with narrow leaves, placed by sevens in whorls round the stalks, but upward they diminish to four, three, and two toward the top; these are rough on both sides; at each joint of the stalk comes out two short foot-stalks opposite, having two small rough leaves, and end with branching foot-stalks, sustaining small yellow flowers. This sort flowers the latter end of June, but does not produce seeds here.
The third sort grows naturally in Spain and the Baleriac Islands; I received the seeds of this sort from Gibraltar, and also from Minorca, whre the plants grew out of the crevices of the rocks. The roots of this sort are much smaller than those of the two former, but are less succulent; they strike deep into the ground, and send up several slender four-cornered stalks which are perennial; they grow a foot and a half long, and divide into many branches, whose joints are very near each other; they are garnished with short stiff rough leaves, placed by fours round the stalk; they are about an inch long, and half an inch broad in the middle, of a lucid green, and continue all the year. This hath not produced flowers in England.
There is a sort which grows naturally in Wales, and also upon St. Vincent's rock. which has four leaves at each joint, but these are narrower and longer than those of the third sort; the stalks of this are perennial, and the leaves evergreen; so that Mr. Ray has mistaken this plant, having supposed it to be the second, which hath annual stalks rising much higher, therefore I should rather think it might be the third sort, if they were equally hardy; but the third sort is so tender, as to be always killed by severe frosts in England, if exposed to the open air.
The first sort is that which is cultivated for the use of the dyers and callico printers, and is so essential to both manufactories, as that neither of those businesses can be carried on without this commodity; and the consumption of it is so great here, as that upon a moderate computation, there is annually so much of it imported from Holland, as the price of it amounts to more than one hundred and eighty thousand pounds sterling; which might be saved to the public, if a sufficient quantity of it were planted in England, where it might be cultivated to greater advantage than in Holland, the lands here being better adapted to grow this plant. But as the growing of this plant in quantity, has been for several years discontinued, so the method of culture is not well known to many persons here; and as there is at present an inclination in the public to regain this lost branch of trade (for formerly there was not only enough of this commodity raised in England for our own consumption, but also great guantities of it were sent abroad,) so we shall here give a full account of the culture of the plant, and also of the method of preparing the root for use; and shall begin with the method now practised in Zealand, where the best and greatest quantity of Madder is now raised.
In all the Netherlands, there is no where better Madder cultivated, than in Schowen, one of the islands of Zealand, which is performed in the following manner:
The land which is designed for Madder, if it is strong and heavy, is ploughed twice in autumn, that the frost in winter may mellow it and break the clods; then it is ploughed again in the spring, just before the time of planting the Madder; but if the ground is light, then it is ploughed twice in the spring; at the last ploughing it is divided into lands of three feet broad, with furrows between each land four or five inches deep. Madder requires a loamy substantial soil, not too stiff and heavy, or over light and sandy; for although it may thrive tolerably well in the latter, yet such land cannot have a second crop of Madder planed upon it in less than eight or ten years interval; but in Schowen, where the land is substantial, they neet not stay longer than three or four years, in which interval the ground is sown with Corn, or planted with nay kinds of pulse. It is granted, that the best land for producing of Madder is in Schowen, where a hemet of land, which is three hundred square rods of twelve feet each, will yield from one thousand pounds to three thousand pounds weight, according to the goodness oft he land and the favourableness of the seasons; but in light land, the quantity is from five hundred to a thousand pounds weight.
The time for planting of Madder begins toward the end of April, and continues all May, and sometimes in very backward springs, there is some Madder planted the beginning of June. the young shoots from the sides of the root are taken off from the mother plant, with as much root as possible; these are called kiemen, and are planted with an iron dibble in rows at one foot asunder, and commonly four kiemen in a row.
The quantity of these slips (or kiemen) as is required to plant one gemet of land, are sold at different prices, according to the price which Madder bears, or to the demand for the plans; they are often sold from sixteen to twenty guilders, and sometimes they have been sold for ten to eleven pounds Flemish, but the lowest price is from fifteen guilders to three pounds Flemish.
The expence of planting out a gemet of land with slips (or kiemen) costs for labour only, from sixteen to twenty guilders, according as the land is heavy or light: there are generally employed six men to plant, two to rake the ground, these earn each a huilder a day; and five or six women or boys, called carpers or pluckers of the shoots or kiemen, these earn twelve Dutch pence a day, or two schillings.
The first year the Madder is planted, it is customary to plant Cabbages or Dward Kidney-beand, in the surrows between the beds, but there is always great care taken to keep the ground clean from weeds; this is generally contracted for at two pounds Flemish for each gemet of land.
In September or October, when the young Madder is cleaned for the last time that season, the green haulm (or stalks) of the plants, is carefully spread down over the beds, without cutting any part off, and in November the Madder is covered over the haulm with three or four inches of earth.
This covering of the Madder, is performed either with the plough or with the spade; if it is done by the first, it costs two guilders and a half, or three guilders in strong land each gemet, and over and above this, one guilder and a half to level the tops of the beds, and make them smooth; but it is better performed with the spade, only it is more chargeable, for that costs from eight to ten guilders each gemet, but at the same time the clods are broken, and the surface of the beds is made smooth and even.
The second year in the beginning of April, which is about the time the kiemen or young shoots are beginning to come out, the earth on the top of the beds should be scuffled over and raked, to destroy the young weeds, and make the surface smooth and mellow, that the kiemen may shoot out the easier above ground; this labour costs three shillings each gemet. The second summer there must be the same care taken to keep the Madder cleand as in the first, and then nothing is planted in the furrows, or suffered to grow there; at the last time of cleaning the ground, in September or October, the green haulm is again spread down upon the beds; and in November the Madder is again covered with earth, in the same manner as the first year.
By this method of culture, one can see how necessary it is to plant the Madder in beds, for thereby it is much easier covered with the earth of the furrows; and hereby the earth of the beds in every time heightened, whereby the Madder roots will be greatly lengthened, and the kiemen or young shoots will have longer necks, and by being thus deeply earthed, will put out more fibres and have much better roots, without which they will not grow; and it is of equal use to the mother plants, for by this method the roots will be longer; and in this consists the goodness and beauty of the Madder, for those which have but few main roots, are not so much esteemed as those which are well furnished with side roots called tengels; a Madder plant that has many of these roots, is called a well bearded Madder plant; therefore one must never cut off these side roots, for by so doing there will be a less crop of Madder, and but few kiemen or young shoots can be produced; besides, by the loss of moisture, sometimes the plants will droop and become weak; and there is great profit in having a large quantity of kiemen to draw in the spring, which are in plenty the second and third years.
The Madder roots are seldom dug up the second year, but generally after it has grown three summers, therefore the culture of the third year is the same as in the second, during the spring and summer.
Before the first day of September, it is forbidden to dig up any Madder in this island; but on that day, early inthe morning , a beginning is made, and the person who carries the first cart load to the stove, has a premium of a golden rider, or three ducats.
The digging up the Madder of a gemet of land, costs from thirty-six to one hundred guilders, according to the goodness of the crop, and the lightness of stiffness of the ground, but in light land it costs from nine to ten pounds Flemish; the persons who are adroit in this business, are generally paid five shillings Flemish per day.
The Madder produces flowers in the middle of summer, and sometimes a few seeds, but they never ripen here; nor would they be of use to cultivate the plants, since it is so easily done by the kiemen.
Some years past they behan to plant here the great wild Madder, which was called French Madder, but this was not esteemed so good for use as the tame Madder, from which it differs so much, so that was not continued. The more bitter of taste the roots of the Madder are, when taken out of the ground before it is brought to the stove, the less it will loose of its weight in drying, and is the better afterward for use.
When the Madder is dug out of the ground, it is carried to the stove, and there laid in heaps; in that which is called the cold stove, and separated with hurdles made of wicker, and memorandum kept of each parcel, and to what countryman it belongs, that each may be dried in their turns, and prepared or manufactured, for which turn generally lots are cast beforehand. The Madder thus carried to the stove is relzyn.
This relzyn is carried about six o'clock in the morning, into the tower or steeple, hoisted in baskets by ropes to the rooms, and divided or spread, where it remains till the next day, two or three o'clock in the morning, about twenty or twenty-one hours; then those roots which have lain in the hottest places are removed to cooler, and those in the cooler are removed to the hotter places nearer the oven. This is continued for four or five days, according as there has been more or less carried here; but it is always the goods of one person, that every one may have his own, and of as equal quality as possible, when it is delivered out.
When the Madder is sufficiently dried in the tower, when it is threshed on the treshing-floor, which is made cleand from dirt or filth, and then it is brought to the kiln, and there spread on a hair-cloth for about twenty hours, during which time the kiln is made mroe or less hot, according as the roots are more or less thick, or the weather being more or less cold.
From the kiln the Madder is moved to the pounding-house, and is there pounded on an oaken block made hollow, with six stampers plated at the bottom with iron bands; these stampers are kept in motion by a mill very much resembling a grift mill, which is turned by three horses; the presence of the pounding-master is here always required, to stir the Madder continually with a shovel, to bring it under the stampers. When the Madder is thus properly pounded, it is sifted over a tub till there is enough to fill a cask: this first pounding, which chiefly consists of the thinnest and smallest roots, and the outside husks with some earth, which by drying and treshing could not be separated, is called mor-mull.
What remains in the sieve is put on the block again, and pounded a second time, and when the pounding-master guesses a third part is pounded, then the Madder is taken out again and sifted over another tub, and put into a separate cask, and this is called for gemeens; that which remains in this second operation, not enough pounded in the sieve, is for the third time put on the block, and pounded till it is all reduced to powder, which is called kor kraps.
When the Madder is cleansed from the dirt and mull, and is entirely pounded at once, then it is called oor onberoofde, so that this inberoofde actually consists of the gemeens and krapds pounded together, and sisted without separating them from each other.
When there is two thirds of kraps, and one third gemeens, which was separately prepared or manufactured, then they are called two and one, or marked &frac21;. The sweepings of the stove, as also of the ground and beams being swept together is not lost, but is put amongst the mull, or sold by itself.
The sweepings of the mill, and every part of the pounding-place, is also gathered together, and put into a cask; this is called den beer.
When the Madder is thus prepared and put into casks, it is in Zealand examinded by sworn assayres and tried, if it is not faulty packed up; that is, whether in the preparing it is properly manufactured, or falsely packed up, and to see if every part of the cask is filled with Madder of equal goodness and quality, not burned in the drying, or mixed with dirt; which the assayers by certain trials, and by weighing and washing of the madder can know, if it is according to the statutes of the country.
There are sundry statutes made and published by the states of Zealand, concerning the preparing of Madder; as one of the 28th of July 1662, one on the 29th of September, and 31st of October 1671, another on the 23d of September 1699, and the last on the 28th of April 1735; by which statutes, among other things, it is strictly forbidden, That no person shall prepare kraps, in which there shall be more than two pounds of dirt in a hundred weight; nor above eight pounds in the like weight of onberoofde, or in gemeens more than twelve pounds in a hundred weight.
If the Madder upon trial is found good, the arms of the city or village, and the sign of the stove where the Madder was prepared, is painted on the cask with black paint. The trial of the Madder is in no place more exact, or more religiously observed, than in the city of Zinkzee; therefore merchants in Germany, who know this, always prefer the Madder of that place to all others, and will not buy any which has not the arms of Zirkzee painted upon the casks, if they are to be had.
We before mentioned the tower, the kiln, &c. where the Madder is dried and prepared for use, the draughts of these are exhibited in the annexed plates, with their explanation: but that a better judgment may be formed of their use, we shall here take notice, that the tower is te place where the Madder is first dried. This tower is heated by fifteen or sixteen pipes or flues of brick-work, which run on each side the tower under the flooe, and are covered with low burnt tiles, sme of which are loose; so that by taking up these, the heat is moderated and conducted to any part of the tower, the person who has the care of drying the Madder pleases.
The tower has four or five lofts made of strong laths; they are four or five feet above each other, upon which the Madder is laid; these are heated by an oven, which is placed in the room where the work people live, and is by them called the glory.
The kiln is in a room whose length is equal to the breadth of the stove, and is entirely arched over at the top; the oven by which the kiln is heated, is called the hog; this is built upon a stone wall, which rises a foot or two above ground; and the small arch by which the heat passes through every part, has several square little holes in the brick-work, that the heat may come out; over these holes, on the top of the kiln, are laid wooden laths the whole length, and upon them a hair-cloth, on which the Madder is laid to dry, before it is carried to the pounding-place. In the Madder-stoves there is no other fuel used but Friezland turf, which gives an equal and moderate heat.
In the Madder-stoves, the people work more by night than day; first, because at the time of the year when the Madder is brought into the stoves, the nights are much colder than the days; and secondly, that the master, who must be always attentive to his work, may not be interrupted by visitors; and thirdly, because the see less dust; but principally, because the Madder which is pounded in the night is of a much better colour than that which is pounded in the day.
In the Madder-stoves are always constant workmen, one who is the drier, who has the care of drying the Madder in the tower and the kiln; for the right performance of this, art and experience is required, the goodness of the Madder greatly depending on the right drying. This person is a sort of foreman, and has the direction of all the workmen; his pay is five stivers, for every hundred weight of Madder which is prepared in the stove; he has one person under him for his assistant, to perform part of the laborious work, and to be always at hand; this man is paid eighteen or nineteen shillings per week Flemish, which is the constant wages.
The third person is the pounder, who is always present when the Madder is pounding, who with a particular shovel which is small, and fitted to the cavity of the pounding-block, stirs the Madder from time to time, to bring it under the stampers; he is paid four stivers for every hundred weight of Madder.
The fourth is a driver, who with a team of three horses, causes the mill to turn and pound the Madder; his pay for himself and the three horses, from eight to nine stivers per hundred weight, according as he can bargain.
Besides these four, there are five other assistants, who lay the Madder on and take it off; this is often perdormed by the wives and boys of the other workmen; these five have fifty stivers for every three thousand pounds of Madder which is pepared, so they have each ten stivers.
There are nineteen or twenty Madder-stoves in the island of Schowen, which, at an average, prepare in one crop, that lasts from September to February, tne thousand weight of Madder each, which in the whole, amounts to two million pounds weight; and if we suppose, that the Madder is sold at an average for four pounds Flemish per hundred weight, which is a moderate price, one may soon reckon what advantage the culture of this dyeing commodity produces to this one island.
The countrymen pay to the owners of the Madder-stoves, two guilders for preparing every hundred weight of mull, and for each hundred weight of hard Madder; that is, of kraps, gemeens, or onberoodfe, three guilders, according as they will have them prepared.
The building of a Madder-stove quite new from the foundation, costs in the whole about twenty-four hundred pounds Flemish, which is twelve hundred pounds sterling.
An explanation of the plan of the cold stove.
Fig. 1. Is the lower band, whose thickness is fourteen by fifteen inches.
2. The upper band, which is twelve by fourteen inches.
3. The cap and band, which is ten by twelve inches.
4. The upper cap, which is six by seven inches.
5. The two main jambs, which are thirteen by fifteen inches of stone.
6. The half bands and posts, of nine by seven inches.
7. The uppermost half band, which is small, six by eight inches.
A plan of the arched room cut through perpendicularly in the middle where the kiln stands, with a representation of the kiln.
AA Is the cut of the arch.
B The oven of the kiln, which is called the hog; this has no chimney; when the fire is first kindled either with turf or other fuel, the smoke is let out through a small window.
CCC A stone foundation on which the oven and kiln is built.
CC Is properly the kiln itself, which must be observed in what manner it is built, with little holes to let out the heat.
DD Stone bands made for the greater firmness, about the kiln.
EEEE Iron bars placed to strengthen the kiln, and also to lay the upper long lath upon.
F Small cross laths over the kiln, which lie from one end C to the other end C upon the kiln, but there are few of these represented, that the small holes of the kiln may better appear,.
G The door of the entrance.
A plan of the tower where the Madder is first laid to dry.
A Is the oven of the tower.
BB The pipes whereby the heat spreads itself, is here shewn by the openings where the tyles are taken off.
C A fort of stairs by which they climb.
DD The windlass with its rope and hook, to hoist the Madder to the lofts.
EEEE The four lofts of the lath of the oven.
F The chimney above the roof.
G The door by which they enter.
An explanation of the plan of the section of the tower.
Fig. 1. 1. 1. 1. The four bands of the tower which are sixteen inches square.
2. The cap band, ten by twelve inches.
3. The springing band, six by eight inches.
4. The interstice to the tower, six by seven inches.
5. The spaning plate, five by seven inches.
6. 6. The lower and second girder, six by seven inches.
7. The third girder, seven by nine inches.
8. The fourth girder, six by eight inches.
9. The fifth girder, six by seven inches.
10. The crown piece of the tower, five by six inches.
The ribs in the tower must be laid fourteen inches asunder from middle to middle, corner-ways, and the laths between an inch and a half distant.
A plan of the pounding-house, in which is shewn at A, the driver, who, with his three horses, causes te mill to turn, which works the stampers: At B is shewn the pounder, who, with his shovel, continually brings the Madder under the stampers.
Fig. 1. Is the beam which supports the axle-tree, which is fourteen by fifteen inches.
2. The hollow Oaken block or trough, twenty-seven by twenty-nine inches.
3. The king post, eighteen inches square.
4. The upper band, six by seven inches.
5. The cross bands, five by seven inches.
6. The cross arms, six by ten inches.
7. The swaarden, six by ten inches.
8. The axis, from six to eight inches.
9. The feller, six by eight inches of Elm wood.
10. The king beam, eleven by thirteen inches Fir wood.
11. The drawers under the mill, five by six inches.
12. The plate for the running of the truckle, three by sixteen inches.
13. The wooden knobs to the wheel of Ash.
14. The staves made of Box wood.
15. The six stampers, six inches square, of Ash.
An explanation of the section of the pounding-house.
Fig. 1. The under band, sixteen inches square.
2. The upper band, twelve by fourteen inches.
3. The band of the cap post, ten by twelve inches.
4. The springing band, six by seven inches.
5. The spaning plate, five by seven inches.
6. The first girder, six by seven inches.
7. The secong girder, nine by eleven inches.
8. The third girder, six by eight inches.
9. The uppermost girder, six by seven inches.
10. Top or cap, four by five inches.
The above account is the method of cultivating Madder in Zealand, where the best Madder is now produced; to this I shall add, what I have observed of the growing of Madder in other parts of Holland, as also the experience I have had of the growth of Madder in England, with an account of the method of planting it here.
In the year 1727, I observed a great quantity of this plant cultivated in Holland, between Helvoetsluys and the Brill; and it being the first time I had ever seen any considerable parcel of it, I was tempted to make some enquiries about its culture, and take some minutes of it down upon the spot, which I shall here insert, for the use of such as may have curiosity to attempt the culture of it.
In autumn they plough the land, where they intend to plant Madder in the spring, and lay it in high ridges, that the forst may mellow it; in March they plough it again, and at this season they work it very deep, laying it up in ridges eighteen inches asunder, and about a foot high; then about the beginning of April, when the Madder will begin to shoot our of the ground, they open the earth about their old roots, and take off all the side-shoots which extend themselves horixontally, just under the surface of the ground, preserving as much root to them as possible; these they transplant immediately upon the tops of the new ridges, at about a foot apart, observng always to do this when there are some showers, because then the plants will take root in a few days, and will require no water.
When the plants are growing, they carefully keep the ground hoed, to prevent the weeds from coming up between them; for if they are smothered by weeds, especially when young, it will either destroy or weaken them so much, that they seldom do well after. In these ridges they let the plants remain two seasons, during which time they keep the ground very clean; and at Michaelmas, when the tops of the plants are decayed, they take up the roots and dry them for sale. This is what I could learn of their method of cultivating this plant, to which I will subjoin a few observations of my own, which I have since made upon the culture of Madder in England.
The land upon which I have found Madder thive best, is a soft sandy loam, and if it has been in tillage some years, it will be better than that which is fresh broken up. This should have at least a depth of two feet and a half, r three feet of good earth, and must be quite clear from Couch, or the roots of any bad weeds; for as the roots of Madder should remain three years in the ground, so there there are any of those weeds which spread and multiply at their roots, they will intermix with the Madder roots, and in three years will have taken such possession of the ground, as to greatly weaken the Madder, and render it very troublesome to separate when the Madder is taken up.
The ground should be ploughed deep before winter, and laid in ridges to mellow; and if it is not too strong, there will be no necessity for ploughing it again, till just before the time of planting the Madder, when the land should be ploughed as deep as the beam of the plough will admit; and there should be men following the plough in the furrows, which should dig a full spit below the furrow, and turn it up on the top; by preparing the ground of this depth, the roots of the Madder will strike down, and be of greater length, in which the goodness of the crop chiefly consists. The land being thus prepared and made level, will be fit to receive the plants. The best time for planting of the Madder is about the middle or the latter end of April, according as the season is more or less forward, which must be determined by the young shoots; for when these are about two inches above the ground, they are in the best state for planting.
In the taking up of these shoots for planting, the ground should be opened with a spade, that they may be separated from the mother plants with as much root as possible; for if the roots are broken off, they will not succeed: these plants should be drawn up no faster than they are planted; for if they lie long above ground, they will shrink and their tops will wither, and then they often miscarry; therefore if they are brought from a distant place, there should be great care taken in the packing of them up for carriage; especial regard should be had not to pack them so close, or in so great quantity, as to cause them to neat, for that will soon spoil them; but if they are a little withered ny lying out of the ground, their roots should be set upright in water for a few hours, which will stiffen and recover them again.
In he planting of Madder, there are some who make the rows but one foot asunder, others one foot and a half, some two feet, and others who allow them three feet distance; I have made trial of the three last distances, and have found when the roots have been left three years in the ground, that three feet distance row from row is the best; but if it is taken up in two years, two feet asunder may do very well; and the distance in the rows, plant from plant, should be one foot, or a foot and a half.
If there is no danger of the ground being too wet in winer, the plants may be planted on the level ground; but if on he contrary, the ground should be raised in ridges where each row of plants is to be fet, that their roots may not reach the water in winter, for if they do, it will stop their downright growth; and this is the reason why the Dutch, who plant Madder in the Low Countries, raise their ridges so high as two or three feet; and in Zealand, where the ground is drier, they raise the beds four or five inches above the intervals, that the wet may drain off from the beds where the Madder is planted.
The method of planting is as follows: viz. the ground being made smooth, a line is drawn across it to mark out the rows, that they may be strait, for the more convenient cleaning, and for the better digging or ploughing of the ground betwen the rows; then with an iron-shod dibble, holes are made, at the distance which the plants are to stand from each other. The depth of the holes must be in proportion to the length of the roots of the plants, which must be planted the same depth they had been while they were upon the mother plants; for if any part of the root is left above ground, the sun and winds will dry them, which will retard the growth of the plants; and whould any part of the green be buried in the ground, it will not be so well; though of the two, the latter will be less prejudicial, especially if there is not too much of the green buried. When the plants are put into the holes, the earth should be preffed close to them to secure them from being drawn out of the ground, for crows and rooks frequently draw the new plants out of the ground before they get new roots, where there is not this care taken: so that in two or three days, I have known half the plants on a large piece of land destroyed by these birds.
If there happens to be some showers of rain fall in a day or two after the plants are planted, it will be of great service to them, for they will presently put out new roots, and become strong; so that if dry weather should afterward happen, they will not be in so much danger of suffering thereby, as those which are later planted. There are some who, from a covetous temper of making most use of the ground, plant a row of Dwarf Peas or Kidney Beans between each row of Madder, and pretend that thereby the land is kept cleaner from weeds; but I am very certain the crop of Madder is injured thereby much more than the value of those things which grow between the rows, as I have experienced; therefore I advise those persons who plant Madder, never to sow or plant any thing between the rows, but to keep the Madder quite clean from weeds, or any other kind of vegetable.
In order to keep the ground thus clean, it should be scuffled over with a Dutch hoe, as soon as the young weeds appear. When a man can perform a great deal of this work in a day, and if it is done in dry weather, the weeds will die as fast as they are cut down; whereas, when the weeds are left to grow in the spring, so as to get strength, they are not so soon destroyed, and the expence of hoeing the ground then will be more than double; besides, there will be danger of cutting down some of the weaker plants with the weeds, if the persons employed to perform this work are not very careful; therefore it is much cheaper, as also better for the Madder, to begin this work early in the spring, and to repeat it as often as the weeds render it necessary; for by keeping the ground thus constantly clean, the Madder will thrive the better.
During the first summer, the only culture which the Madder requires, is that of keeping it clean in the manner before directed; and when the shoots or haulm of the plants decay in autumn, it should be raked off the ground; then the intervals between the rows should be either dug with a spade or ploughed with a hoeing plough, laying up the earth over the heads of the plants in a roundish ridge, which will be of great service to the roots. The Dutch cover the haulm of their Madder with earth, leacing it to rot upon the ground; this perhaps may be necessary in their country, to keep the frost out of the ground; but as I have never found that the severest winters in England have injured the Madder roots, there is not the same necessity for that practice here.
The following spring, before the Madder begins to shoot, the ground should be hoed and raked over smooth, that the young shoots may have no obstruction; and if there should be any young weeds appearing on the ground, it should be first scuffled over to destroy the weeds, and then raked over smooth; after this, the same care must be taken in the following summer to keep the ground clean; and if it is performed by the hoe plough, the earth of the intervals should be thrown up against the side of the ridges, which will earth up the roots, and greatly increase their strength; but before the ground of one interval is so hoed, the haulm of the plants should be turned over to the next adjoining interval; and if they are permitted so to lie for a fortnight or three weeks, and then turned back again on those intervals which were hoed, observing first to scuffle the ground to destroy any young weeds which may have appeared since the stirring of the ground; then the alternate intervals should be ploughed in like manner, turning the earth up against the opposite sides of the roots; by this method the intervals will be alternately plouged, and the plants earthed up, whereby the ground will be kept clean, and stirred, which will greatly promote the growth of the roots; and by this method the superficial shoots will be subdued, and the principal roots greatly strengthened. The folloring autumn the ground should be cleared of the haulm and weeds, and the earth raised in ridges over the roots, as in the foregoing year.
The third spring the roots will furnish a great supply of young plants; buut before these appear, the ground should be cleaned and raked smooth, that the shoots may have no obstruction to their coming up; and when the young plants are fit to take off, it should be perdormed with care, always taking off those which are produced at the greatest distance from the crown of the other plants, because those are what rob them most of their nourishment, and the wounds made by separating them from the old roots are not near so hurtful as those near the crown; for the stripping off too many of the shoots there, will retard the growth of the plants.
The culture of the Madder in the third summer must be the same as the second; but as the roots will then be much stronger, the earth should be laid up a little higher to them at the times when the ground is cleaned; and if all the distant superficial shoots, which come up in the intervals are hoed or ploughed off, it will be of service to strengthen the larger downright root; and as the haulm will now be very strong and thick, the frequent turning it over from one interval to another will prevent its rotting; for if it lies long in the same position, the shoots which are near the ground, where there will be always more or less damp, and being covered with the upper shoots, the air will be excluded from them, which will cause them to rot, for the shoots of Madder are naturally disposed to climb up any neightbouring support; and in places where they have been supported, I have seen them more than ten feet high; but the expence of staking the
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take nortice of, left they should have so much weight as to prevent many persons from engaging in it. The first which has been generally started is, that the land in this country is not so well adapted fr growing Madder as that in Holland: to which I can with truth affirm, that there are vast tracys of land here much better adapted for producing Madder than the best land in Zealand; and from the experience which I have had of its growth, will produce a greater crop. Another objection which I have heard, was the labour in Holland being cheaper than in England. The Dutch will always undersell us, so consequently will maintain this brand of tradde; but this is certainly a great mistake: for though the labourers employed in cultivating Mdder may not earn so great wages as is generally paid in England, sure I am, that the difference between an expert English labourer and that of the best Dutchman, in the plouging, hoeing, planting, &c. of Madder, is much greater than that of their pay; for I am sure a good English gardener or ploughman will do more business, and perform it better, in four days, than the best workman in Holland can do in six. What I now say is greatly within compass, from my own knowledge; so that, supposing we were to proveed in the same manner now practised by the Dutch, this could be no objection to the cultivating of Madder; but we shall soon find way of performing the most laborious part, at much less expence, but means of the hoeing plough, which may be used to great adcantage in the cultivation of Madder, whereby the expence will be much lessened; and, when once this is well established in England, there can be no doubt but that great improvements will be made both in the culture and method of preparing the commodity for use.
There has been objections made against farther trials of growing Madder, because some who have engaged in it have not succeeded; but in answer to this, it must be observed, that their ill success was owing to a want of skill. Some of them continued to plant repeated crops of Madder on the same spot of ground, till the roots became so small, as scarce to pay the expence of digging up; and here it is proper to observe, that Madder should not be planted on the same land, till after an interval of seven or eight years; during which interval the ground may be sown with any sort of grain, or kitchen vegetables, which it will produce to great advantage after Madder, because the land will be wrought so deep. The Dutch always sow grain upon their Madder ground in the intervals of four years, and have great crops from it; and they are obliged, from the scarcity of land fit for this purpose, to plant the same ground after an tinterval of four years; but, as we are not under the same necessity, it will be much better to stay eight years, for the roots of Madder are very similar to those of Asparagus, and draw much the same, nourishment from the ground; and it is well known that, when Asparagus roots are dug up, which have been growing three years, it will not thrive equal to that which is planted on ground upon which Asparagus has not grown for several years; and this is always found to be the cafe even in kitchen-gardens near London, where, by the well working and frequent dunging the ground, it may be supposed changed in three or four years, more than the fields can possibly be in eight or ten.
Madder should not be planted in very rich dunged land, for in such there will be very large haulm, but the roots will not be in proportion; and, where there is much dung or sea-coal ashed, the Madder roots will be of a darker colour, as it will also where it is cultivated in the smoke of London, which is likewise the cafe with Liquorice; for that which grows in a sandy loam at a distance from London, is always much brighter and clearer than that which grows in the rich lands in the neighbourhood of London.
In Zealand the Madder ir principally cultivated by the kitchen-gardeners, who, in the change of their crops, do every fourth or fifth year plant the Madder upon the same ground again, in like manner as the gardeners in their neighbourhood od London plant Asparagus for forcing in winter upon hot-beds. And as they have public kilns in Holland for drying of the Madder roots, so they know the expence of manufacturing the commodity for sale, which renders the cultivation sure and easy to them.
If the cultivation of Madder is carried on properly in England, it will employ a great number of hands from the time harvest is over, till the spring of the year, whiich is generally a dead time for labourers and hereby the parished may be eased of the poor's rate, which is a consideration worthy of public attention.