15 APRIL 1938, Page 17


Fair Farms

At a time when the chief malady of stock is more rampant than it has ever been, the English farms look supremely well, whether the fields are grass or plough or orchard. The " peck of March dust " that is prayed for was enlarged to a ton. Singularly perfect seed beds were therefore vouchsafed, and the spring-sown crops have come through so regularly that the tilths look like a sheet of well-ruled foolscap. All work on the farm is as forward as the season. A good example of this forwardness is to be seen on the asparagus bed. Good stout cutable tops have appeared a good three weeks before the normal date. It is less satisfactory to record that the green-fly is not less precocious. Much is owed to the plentiful March dust, but April dust is a less valuable commodity. Grain crops do not need much rain ; but they need a certain amount early in the career of the plant. The very small rainfall of the prairie provinces of Canada is enough because it falls as a rule just about the date when the young plants need a fillip. Such a fillip is needed in Britain now. The April shower is one of the most beneficent of our weather phenomena (if it comes in the form of rain, not of hail), not least for the fruit-grower. For the proper reception of pollen some rain, as well as sun and warmth, is desirable.

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