Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/262

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both Corn and Clover were forced to remember the ancient saying: "And this, too, shall pass away." King Corn began to complain again that his bed was getting hard and that the food furnished him was not sufficient. Queen Clover replied that she, too, was suffering from hunger, and that her home in the soil which had always been sweet and clean was becoming sour.

Naturally, Queen Clover was much more sensitive to this condition than King Corn, but she had done the best she could with what she had found in the soil and she had also secured for herself one choice kind of food from the air, and even prepared it for the King so far as she could.

But, in spite of all they could do, Queeen Clover's health began to fail; and some years she was entirely helpless, and consequently King Corn suffered greatly. They consulted many doctors. Some said the soil needed more drainage; others said the seed-bed should be better prepared; and still others advised the use of better seed and of more thorough cultivation.

All of these remedies proved helpful, but they afforded only temporary relief. At last Queen Clover said to the king that when she was a child a doctor, whose name was Science, had once visited her family, and that whatever he did was exactly right because his knowledge was true and absolute. He had shown them that all of the members of the Clover family were able to secure nitrogen from the air, and that this was one of the essential foods for plants.

The king and queen were greatly rejoiced to learn that the old doctor was still living, and they at once secured his services.

After a thorough investigation of the conditions. Doctor Science reported that he understood the case and that the remedy was simple and still within easy reach, but that they should proceed at once to apply the treatment before it became too late.

"The fundamental trouble," said he to King Corn, "is with the soil in which you live. In order to establish a permanent and healthful home for yourself and Queen Clover, about one half ton per acre of pure steamed bone meal, or of fine-ground natural rock phosphate, and two tons per acre of ground limestone should be applied once every four or five years. Then don't occupy the land too much of the time yourself, but bring in other crops and have a rotation—such as corn, oats and clover, or corn, wheat and clover for a three-year rotation; or wheat, corn, oats and clover (in grain farming), or corn, corn, oats and clover (in live-stock farming), for a four-year rotation. In the four-year rotation for grain farming a catch crop of clover may also be seeded on the wheat ground and plowed under the next spring for corn, and the regular clover crop in the fourth year may be mowed once or twice and left lying on the land, the seed crop afterward being harvested with a buncher attached to the mower.