(For the Burlington Hawk-Eye.)
MR. EDITOR:– Please give this scrap a place in your paper. It may be of advantage to somebody.
In regard to the Chinese Cane, the following points may be relied on as of essential importance.
In the first place, the Cane seed should be planted early in the season, the earlier the better, after the ground is sufficiently dry and warm to promote germination. The late planted Cane is always inferior. It produces less saccharine. The quality is inferior, the syrup is more difficult to preserve free from undue acidity.
Much care should be taken as to the quality of soil selected for the Cane.
The rich prairie soil should by all means be eschewed, when say other can be had. The best soil is the clayey soil of the timber land with a mixture of sand. When that cannot be had, select the eldest and longest cultivated prairie soil. No matter if it is too much worn to produce corn, it will be all the better for cane. – But in all cases the soil should be loose and well pulverized.
The greatest care should be taken to obtain pure seed. A great portion of the cane seed used in the country is sadly mixed. Out of more than thirty different lots of cane that we worked last fall, there were not more than four or five but what were more or less mixed with other plants. The great pests of Sorghum are the broom-corn and the chocolate, or coffee-corn. They will very soon utterly ruin it. The cane will mix with these articles a mile off. That is it will mix just as far as the light pollen of the blossom can be carried by the wind. It will mix with common corn, provided its blossoms are out at the same time with those of the corn. The quality of the cane is greatly impaired by being left to grow among the coarse, rank weeds of the field. What is quite as inferior in quality and value as any of the other mixtures is that mongrel sort of article produced by the mixture of the Sorghum with the Imphia, or African Cane.
Treat the Sorghum properly, grow it on suitable soils, cultivate it well, and harvest it at the proper time, and it will yield sugar or molasses of as fine and excellent quality as any variety of cane that grows in any climate or country whatsoever.
– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, April 5, 1862, p. 2