George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 14 April 1760]

Monday Apl. 14. Fine warm day, Wind So[uther]ly and clear till the Eveng. when it clouded.

No Fish were to be catchd to day neither.

Mixd my Composts in a box with ten Apartments in the following manner viz.—in No. 1 is three pecks of the Earth brought from below the Hill out of the 46 Acre Field without any mixture—in No.

  • 2. is two pecks of the said Earth and one of Marle taken out of the said Field which Marle seemd a little Inclinable to Sand.
  • 3. Has 2 Pecks of sd. Earth and 1 of Riverside Sand.
  • 4. Has a Peck of Horse Dung.
  • 5. Has Mud taken out of the Creek.
  • 6. Has Cow Dung.
  • 7. Marle from the Gullys on the Hill side wch. seemd to be purer than the other.
  • 8. Sheep Dung.
  • 9. Black Mould taken out of the Pocoson on the Creek side.
  • 10. Clay got just below the Garden.

All mixd with the same quantity & sort of Earth in the most effectual manner by reducing the whole to a tolerable degree of fineness & jubling them well together in a Cloth.

In each of these divisions were planted three Grains of Wheat 3 of Oats & as many of Barley, all at equal distances in Rows & of equal depth (done by a Machine made for the purpose).

The Wheat Rows are next the Numbered side, the Oats in the Middle, & the Barley on that side next the upper part of the Garden.

Two or three hours after sowing in this manner, and about an hour before Sun set I waterd them all equally alike with Water that had been standing in a Tub abt. two hours exposd to the Sun.

Began drawing Bricks burning Lime & Preparing for Mr. Triplet who is to be here on Wednesday to Work.

Finishd Harrowing the Clover Field, and began reharrowing of it. Got a new harrow made of smaller, and closer Tinings for Harrowing in Grain—the other being more proper for preparing the Ground for sowing.

Cook Jack’s plow was stopd he being employd in setting the Lime Kiln.

grains of wheat: Triticum aestivum, wheat, was second to tobacco as a cash crop during GW’s early farming years and his prime cash crop after he reduced his tobacco plantings in later years. When he speaks of “wheat” he means the common English red winter wheat, but during his lifetime he tried at least a dozen different kinds and experimented (as above) with various modes of culture. A common method of cropping was to sow wheat between corn rows after the corn had been topped in late summer. GW’s diaries and papers show him trying early wheat, summer wheat, red-straw wheat, lamas wheat, double-headed wheat, yellow-bearded wheat, and Russian wheat sent him by British agriculturist Arthur Young. White wheat became his favorite variety but during the Revolution, when his farms were neglected, his seed became so mixed that it lost its original characteristics. Much of his experimentation with wheat after that time involved finding an ideal white variety. He sent a sack of early white wheat to Sir John Sinclair 10 July 1798, saying it had been developed in America about seven years earlier and was a white, full, and heavy grain. Possibly this is the strain which Thomas Jefferson sent home from Georgetown, Md., in 1790, reporting that Washington had assured him it was the best he had ever seen. It was a white wheat widely used in Maryland with a small, plump grain, weighing 62 to 64 pounds per bushel (BETTS [2] description begins Edwin Morris Betts, ed. Thomas Jefferson’s Garden Book, 1766–1824: With Relevant Extracts from His Other Writings. Philadelphia, 1944. description ends , 153–54).

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