Young A. General View of Agriculture of the County of Norfolk, David & Charles Reprints, Newton Abbot
Some plants noted that we might consider native/weeds - twitch, couch, whins, ling, vetch, poppy, red weed, clivers, may weed Others appears to have been cultivated and may or may not have been locally indigenous - clovers, trefoils, tares, ray-grass
The southern part comprehends by far the poorest part of the county, a considerable portion of which is occupied by rabbit-warrens and sheep-walk heaths, and has a most desolate and dreary aspect. It is, however, highly improvable by the marle and chalk, or cork, which is almost every where to be found under the surface.
(comment: I only include this paragraph owing to the use of the word 'cork', presumably to describe marle and chalk - I cannot find any online reference to this, though gave up rapidly after too many Irish hits. Similar use of cork occurs again later in the book).
Much blowing sand at Riseing; and the evil of some of the soil there is, its being free from stones, and for that reason burns much; on which account Mr. BECK disapproves of picking stones. The remark is very judicious. To deep sands he thinks twitch so natural, that it is impossible to free them from it: if the field is made ever so clean, and lays two years, there will be some.
SALT HOUSE AND KELLING. - ENCLOSED 1780. Mr. GIRDLESTONE, who is lord of the manor, and has considerable property here, manages his warren by thus improving parts. He ploughs, and leaves the furrow two years to rot, then clays it 50 loads an acre, and 10 loads of muck, works it for turnips, which are good, worth 40s. an acre; these are sowed with sheep and cattle. Sows oats next, which, in a season not too dry, yield ten coombs: with these he lays down to grass for as many years as it will stand, for the rabbits; these new lays enable them to give milk, and bring up their young; when grown, they feed upon the ling, thus giving value to the rest, and in this way is worth 20s. An acre: but would not let to a farmer, by itself, for mire than 5s. or 6s. an acre.
the crop was damaged by the wire worm, against which he has found fallowing no security.
(comment: not sure that wire worm can be considered as wildlife, likely only prevalent due to cropping)
Upon land which is exceedingly given to charlock and wallock (Raphanus and Sinapis), Mr. DURSGATE has hoed by the day instead of paying by the acre. To have the greatest security through cleaning; or in extra cases paying an extra price per acre.
I have rarely seen the drill so superior to the broad-cast, as in a large field of Mr. BEVAN'S: in 1802, the crop drilled was not only considerably superior to the broad-cast, but vastly freer from weeds; especially poppies, which had damaged the broad-cast much; as neither had any hoeing or weeding, this effect is remarkable, and what I cannot account for, nor could Mr. BEVAN.
Mr. DRAKE, of Billingfold, dibbles barley on his lighter land on one earth; one row on a furrow, and then sows a cast and harrows; and this he thinks pays better than wheat on land much subject to poppy, in which he has had wheat that cost from 20s. To 30s. an acre weeding and yet a bad crop; but of barley never gets less than nine coombs an acre, and land clean.
The common melilot is another plant luxuriously indigenous on the same poor soils; yields seed plentifully, is much affected by sheep, and would work great improvements, though not equal to chicory: but nobody makes the trial of either, though I have incessantly, for twelve years, been urging the farming world, in the Annals of Agriculture, to open their eyes to the value of these and other native plants, far exceeding that exhausting one of ray-grass.
(comment: common melilot possibly introduced from Europe, Concise British Flora, but does not say when - looked up as didn't realise chicory indigenous!).
by supposing the land, from laying so long, abounds with the red or wyer worm, and that ploughing and harrowing given to prepare the land, destroy or check them so much, as to lessen greatly their depredations:
Mr. ENGLAND, of Binham is clearly against the practice of tempering light land, which often brings poppies, that would not otherwise appear.
At East Bilney, and the adjoining parishes, they think they never sow wheat on heavy land too soon: but on light soils, and all given to red weed, a month after Michaelmas;
Mr. DOVER, of Hockham, had great plenty of pheasants, but lost them all, without knowing to what cause to attribute their disappearance: he found out however, that it was entirely occasioned by his using arsenic in steeping his wheat-seed. Mr. ALGUR confirmed it, by observing, that he once found a covey of partridges dead or dying, from the same cause.
Generally two rows on a flag, but on land much subject to poppy only one, for the benefit of hand hoeing.
Mr. BURTON thinks, that on reduced land the best of all is to dibble one row and put in the same quantity of seed; it beats the drill: he drill rolls at five inches; no red weed;
(comment: also mention of women dibblers and reapers on this page - nothing on how much he paid them.)
Mr. DALTON, of Swaffham, If he drills early, the poppy gets greatly a-head;
On the clays of Marshland, where there are other signs of bad management, they are much pestered with the red weed, may weed, clivers, &c. they are forced to weed much.
Mr. MARGATESON, of North Walsham, could never observe that thinness was the cause of mildew; but that the berberry bush will occasion it, he has ascertained by observations that could not deceive him.
(Hillingdon) "This distemper has been accurately traced from a point across a field to a berberry bush in a hedge. Several similar instances; and Mr. MARSHALL produced the distemper by planting a small bush in the middle of a large piece of wheat, all clean, except a stripe where the berberry mildewed the cr
The parish of Elsing is well known for the the what that grows in it being very liable to the mildew, arising (as every person in it knows) from the number of berberry bushes which abounded in its hedges, til much attention was given to extirpate them; and still, arising from the same cause, on the lands of those who are careless in this business.
Red Worm - Often makes great havock in the vicinity of Watton and Hingham, as well as the cock-chafer grub in grass lands; but they have encouraged rooks everywhere, with some effect: and sea-gulls fortunately resort very much to lay their eggs on an island in Scoulton Meer, and raise great number of young, undisturbed, as they are known to feed only on worms and grubs, no seeds having been found in their crops.
Mr. OVERMAN, carrying me into a crop of broad-cast pease in his neighbourhood, desired me to examine the strongest tufts to be found, to shew that the poppies, so far from being destroyed, were erect and ready to force themselves through when the pease fell, though overtopped at present. He remarked, that the common observation, that pease are apt to foul land if weak, and clean it, if stout, was erroneous: if red-weed or spear-grass are in the land, no crop will destroy them; and if they are not in the land, the pease cannot generate them.
At Wiggenhall, St. Marys', in Marshland, they plough in the wheat stubbles in autumn, and stirring in the spring, sow every third or fourth furrow with two bushels of horse-beans an acre; hand-hoe the rows once, and plough sometimes in between them.
For the following wheat they plough once, and harrow in the seed; and if the weather is good , twice: this they reckon best on account of the white snail, a slug which abounds on bean stubbles: it eats the young plant of wheat the moment the seed shoots, and sometimes destroys the crop; steeping in arsenic no prevention - they eat the seed also, by some accounts, but this is doubtful.
Mr. COE, of Islington, the best if it escapes the slug, which in a wet season attacks the wheat in autumn: it is about an inch long, the size of a tobacco-pipe, and of a bluish white colour.
Mr. SWAYNE, of Walpole, gets the best wheat after beans, if it escapes the slug:
Mr. REEVE, of Wighton, has ploughed buck in for manure, but thinks his land hardly strong enough for this husbandry; but on any piece subject to wild oats, by sowing buck after barley, on four earths, and ploughing it in at the beginning of August, in full flower, he has freed land from that weed almost completely.
In 1874, Mr. COKE Some years after that period he tried ray-grass, and approved of it much better than any other plant for this purpose, observing, that it kept down the blubber-grass, so apt to come with sainfoin
DIBBLING Mr. BURTON, of Langley, remarked, that good as this practice was in some respects for the poor, there are inconveniences flowing from it. Girls old enough for service, are kept home by it. Gleaning is their employment in harvest, which gives them idle habits in the fields, then dibbling follows; and the girls lying about under hedges with the men, produces the natural consequences on their manners; bastardy flourishes, and the maid-servants are uncommonly scarce.
Mr. JOHNSTONE, of Thurning, makes the same observation as Mr. BURTON. The great girls do not drop so well as children, nor is the work so well done as formerly: they now drop between the fore-finger and thumb, which is much inferior to doing it between the fore and middle finger.
No where are meadows and pastures worse managed: in all parts of the county we see them over-run with all sorts of spontaneous rubbish, bushes, briars, rushes: the water stagnant: ant-hills numerous: in a word, left in a state of nature, by men who willingly make all sorts of exertions to render their arable land clean, rich and productive.
Mr. SALTER, of Winborough, near Dereham, upon his large farm of above 800 acres, found 3 or 400 acres of old meadows entirely poisoned by springs, which, from every sort of impediment that neglect would cause, had formed bogs and moory bottoms, famous for rotting sheep and miring cows; with blackthorns and other rubbish spread over large tracts. His first operations were, to grub up the land, and open all ditches to the depth of four or five feet, and to cut open drains in almost every direction for laying them dry; burning the earth, and spreading the ashes on the ground: so far, all was no more than common good husbandry: but he applied a thought entirely his won: as he found that the flinty gravel, marle, and other earths, but especially the gravel, was very beneficial to the herbage, he thought of sowing winter tares and white clover upon the places wherever any earth was spread, or any other operation had laid bare the surface, harrowing in those seeds.
Mr. SALTER, of Winborough, upon his finely cultivated farm of about 800 acres, of which he had permission to break up a large portion of old and miserably bad grass, poisoned with springs, and overrun with bushes, and all sorts of aquatic rubbish, first surrounded every field with ditches five feet broad and four deep; then hollow drained every acre completely; and broke up for a crop of dibbled oats; took a second crop of oats, and on the stubble spread 100 loads of marle (called here, as everywhere in Norfolk, clay, and in much of it there is a large portion of clay), and then took turnips. His success was various; many oats he lost by the wyer worm
South Creke common, 1,000 acres; four great farmers, and four sheep-walks; passed it by West Basham enclosures, where it is covered with thick fern, yet this is the worst land of the four.
Mr. SALTER, of Winborough,… in another farm he has at Carbrook, … His drains are in general 30 to 36 inches deep, some to four feet. He uses any sort of wood, chiefly the bushes that were a nuisance to his fields, but of late has been forced to buy great quantities.
[Marle] He spreads 40 to 50 loads per acre. Such manuring prevents the anbury in turnips. … Cork has been used successfully at Ringstead.
In East Winch and West Bilney, and scattered for ten miles to Wallington, there is a remarkable bed of oyster-shells in sea-mud
Treatments against tick and similar insect infestations made from tobacco and white mercury powder, dips made with arsenic!