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eth out of trees, though it windeth not. So likewise an herb called faunos, upon the wild olive. And an herb called hippophaston upon the fuller's thorn : which, they say, is good for the falling sickness.
662. IT hath been observed by some of the ancients, that howsoever cold and easterly winds are thought to be great enemies to fruit, yet nevertheless south winds are also found to do hurt, especially in the blossoming time; and the more if showers follow. It seemeth they call forth the moisture too fast. The west winds are the best. It hath been observed also, that green and open winters do hurt trees; insomuch as if two or three such winters come together almondtrees, and some other trees, will die. The cause is the same with the former, because the lust of the earth over-spendeth itself: howsoever some other of the ancients have commended warm winters.
663. SNOWS lying long cause a fruitful year; for first, they keep in the strength of the earth; secondly, they water the earth better than rain: for in snow, the earth doth, as it were, suck the water as out of the teat: thirdly, the moisture of snow is the finest moisture, for it is the froth of the cloudy waters.
664. SHOWERS, if they come a little before the ripening of fruits, do good to all succulent and moist fruits; as vines, olives, pomegranates; yet it is rather for plenty than for goodness; for the best vines are in the driest vintages: small showers are likewise good for corn, so as parching heats come not upon them. Generally night showers are better than day showers, for that the sun followeth not so fast upon them; and we see even in watering by the hand, it is best in summer time to water in the evening.
665. THE differences of earths, and the trial of them, are worthy to be diligently inquired. The earth, that with showers doth easiliest soften, is commended; and yet some earth of that kind will be very dry and hard before the showers. The earth that casteth up from the plough a great clod, is not so good as that which casteth up a smaller clod. The earth that putteth forth moss easily, and may be called
mouldy, is not good. The earth that smelleth well upon the digging, or ploughing, is commended; as containing the juice of vegetables almost already prepared. It is thought by some, that the ends of low rainbows fall more upon one kind of earth than upon another; as it may well be; for that that earth is most roscid and therefore it is commended for a sign of good earth. The poorness of the herbs, it is plain, shew the poorness of the earth; and especially if they be in colour more dark: but if the herbs shew withered, or blasted at the top, it sheweth the earth to be very cold; and so doth the mossiness of trees. The earth, whereof the grass is soon parched with the sun, and toasted, is commonly forced earth, and barren in its own nature. The tender, chessome, and mellow earth, is the best, being mere mould, between the two extremes of clay and sand, especially if it be not loamy and binding. The earth, that after rain will scarce be ploughed, is commonly fruitful: for it is cleaving, and full of juice.
666. It is strange, which is observed by some of the ancients, that dust helpeth the fruitfulness of trees, and of vines by name; insomuch as they cast dust upon them of purpose. It should seem, that that powdering, when a shower cometh, maketh a kind of soiling to the tree, being earth and water finely laid on. And they note, that countries where the fields and ways are dusty bear the best vines.
667. It is commended by the ancients for an excellent help to trees, to lay the stalks and leaves of lupins about the roots, or to plough them into the ground where you will sow corn. The burning also of the cuttings of vines, and casting them upon land, doth much good. And it was generally received of old, that dunging of grounds when the west wind bloweth, and in the decrease of the moon, doth greatly help; the earth, as it seemeth, being then more thirsty and open to receive the dung.
668. THE grafting of vines upon vines, as I take it, is not now in use: the ancients had it, and that three ways: the first was incision, which is the ordi
nary manner of grafting: the second was terebration
669. THE diseases and ill accidents of corn are
times breed in the root, and happen upon hot suns and showers immediately after the sowing; and another worm breedeth in the ear itself, especially when hot suns break often out of clouds. Another disease is weeds; and they are such as either choke and overshadow the corn, and bear it down; or starve the corn, and deceive it of nourishment. Another disease is over-rankness of the corn; which they use to remedy by mowing it after it is come up; or putting sheep into it. Another ill accident is laying of corn with great rains, near or in harvest. Another ill accident is, if the seed happen to have touched oil, or any thing that is fat; for those substances have an antipathy with nourishment of water.
670. THE remedies of the diseases of corn have been observed as followeth. The steeping of the grain, before sowing, a little time in wine, is thought a preservative: the mingling of seed-corn with ashes is thought to be good: the sowing at the wane of the moon, is thought to make the corn sound: it hath not been practised, but it is thought to be of use to make some miscellane in corn; as if you sow a few beans with wheat, your wheat will be the better. It hath been observed, that the sowing of corn with housleek doth good. Though grain that toucheth oil or fat, receiveth hurt, yet the steeping of it in the dregs of oil, when it beginneth to putrefy, which they call amurca, is thought to assure it against worms. It is reported also, that if corn be mowed, it will make the grain longer, but emptier, and having more of the husk.
671. Ir hath been noted, that seed of a year old is the best; and of two or three years is worse; and that which is more old is quite barren; though, no doubt, some seed and grains last better than others. The corn which in the vanning lieth lowest is the best: and the corn which broken or bitten retaineth a little yellowness, is better than that which is very white.
672. IT hath been observed, that of all roots of herbs, the root of sorrel goeth the farthest into the earth; insomuch that it hath been known to go three cubits deep: and that it is the root that continueth fit
longest to be set again, of any root that groweth. It is a cold and acid herb, that, as it seemeth, loveth the earth, and is not much drawn by the sun.
673. IT hath been observed, that some herbs like best being watered with salt water; as radish, beet, rue, pennyroyal; this trial would be extended to some other herbs; especially such as are strong, as tarragon, mustard-seed, rocket, and the like.
674. It is strange that is generally received, how some poisonous beasts affect odorate and wholesome herbs; as that the snake loveth fennel; that the toad will be much under sage; that frogs will be in cinquefoil. It may be it is rather the shade, or other coverture, that they take liking in, than the virtue of the herb.
675. Ir were a matter of great profit, save that I doubt it is too conjectural to venture upon, if one could discern what corn, herbs, or fruits, are like to be in plenty or scarcity, by some signs and prognostics in the beginning of the year: for as for those that are like to be in plenty, they may be bargained for upon the ground; as the old relation was of Thales; who, to shew how easy it was for a philosopher to be rich, when he foresaw a great plenty of olives, made a monopoly of them. And for scarcity, men may make profit in keeping better the old store. Long continuance of snow is believed to make a fruitful year of corn: an early winter, or a very late winter, a barren of corn: an open and serene winter, an year ill year of fruit: these we have partly touched before: but other prognostics of like nature are diligently to be inquired.
676. THERE seem to be in some plants singularities, wherein they differ from all other; the olive hath the oily part only on the outside; whereas all other fruits have it in the nut or kernel. The fir hath, in effect, no stone, nut, nor kernel; except you will count the little grains kernels. The pomegranate and pine-apple have only amongst fruits grains distinct in several cells. No herbs have curled leaves but cabbage and cabbage-lettuce. None have doubled leaves,