The following passage indicates the contemporary theory of manuring: - " In thy tillage are these special opportunities to improve it, either by liming, marling, sanding, earthing, mudding, snayl-codding, mucking, chalking, pidgeons-dung, hens-dung, hogs-dung or by any other means as some by rags, some by coarse wool, by pitch marks, and tarry stuff, any oyly stuff, salt and many things more, yea indeed any thing almost that bath any liquidness, foulness, saltness or good moysture in it, is very naturall inrichment to almost any sort of land."
The first half of the 17th century was a period of agricultural activity, partly due, no doubt, to the increase of enclosed farms. Marling and liming are again practised, new agricultural implements and manures introduced, and the new crops more widely used.
Other essential conditions of success will commonly include the liberal application of potash and phosphatic manures, and sometimes chalking or liming for the leguminous crop. As to how long the leguminous crop should occupy the land, the extent to which it should be consumed on the land, or the manure from its consumption be returned, and under what conditions the whole or part of it should be ploughed in - these are points which must be decided as they arise in practice.
This is easily done in liming or measuring tanks of known capacity, into which the juice is run from the mill.
Apart from increased yield in sugar of good quality, we may sum up the advantages procurable from the use of Hatton defecators as follows: cold liming; heating gently to the temperature required to coagulate the albumen and not beyond it, whereby disturbance would ensue; the continuous separation of the scums; the gradual drying of the scums so as to make them ready for the fields, without carrying away juice or requiring treatment in filter presses; and the continuous supply of hot defecated juice to the evaporators, without the use of subsiding tanks or eliminators; and, finally, the saving in expenditure on plant, such as filter presses, &c., and wages.
The chief processes for the improvement of soils which may be discussed here are: liming, claying and marling, warping, paring and burning, and green manuring.
When recommendations are made about liming land it is necessary to indicate more precisely than is usually done which of the three classes of material named above - chalk, quicklime or slaked lime - is intended.
Weeds, therefore, which need sour conditions for development are checked by liming and the better grasses and clovers are encouraged.
Liming tends to produce earlier crops and destroys the fungus which causes finger-and-toe or club-root among turnips and cabbages.
When the whole ground has been thus treated, a moderate liming will, in general, be useful, especially on heavy clay soils.
The method of liming the tiles (chaulage) consists in dipping them into a liquid mixture of lime and water.
The process of liming, which originated at the time when the Dutch held a monopoly of the trade, was with the view of preventing the germination of the seeds, which were formerly immersed for three months in milk of lime for this purpose, and a preference is still manifested in some countries for nutmegs so prepared.
These are unfitted for garden purposes until improved by draining, liming, trenching and the addition of porous materials, such as ashes, burnt ballast or sand, but when thoroughly improved they are very fertile and less liable to become exhausted than most other soils.