SA INFOIN, Ogo6rychis seam, is a plant of the family of the Leyte itaisoarr, , which grows luxuriantly and spontaneously on the calcareous soils of the middle and south of Europe. It has been in regular culti vation for upwards of two centuries for 'tho purpose of supplying fodder for cattle, either in the green state or when converted into hay. There are few plants which have more rapidly improved the value of poor, thin, calcareous soils than sainfoin ; and in the richer kinds of ham, which contain a considerable proportion of calcareous matter, its value surpass*, even that of broad clover, giving fully as great a return, with a much smaller expenditure of manure. Tho plant has a strong woody and fibrous root, which insinuates itself into the fissures of calcareous rocks, and finds moisture in the driest seasons, while its spreading fibres keep the earth from being washed down the steep slopes of the hills. Being nearly perennial, or at least of malty years' duration, it binds the soil together. In favourable situations it may be made into hay twice in the year, or cut oftener as green fodder. In the moet arid and exposed situations it gives at least one good crop of hay. The plant grows about two feet high, and the stein, which branches out into many compound leaves, is crowned with a beautiful spike of papilionaceons flowers. After it has been mown it shoots out rapidly again, and may be advantageously depastured by every kind of cattle or sheep. There are varieties of the plant which differ in the rapidity of their growth : the beat is called in Franco esparcette, or saisfrin a deux coupes. From France it has been introduced into England. The duration of sainfoin depends on the nature of the soil, and the state it was in with respect to weeds when it was sown. A cold wet subsoil soon destroys the roots, whereas a free and dry one, whether rocky or gravelly, gives them vigour. Grass and weeds, which choke the crown of the plant, soon *mac it to decay, as is the case with Incern. With every advantage, it may last in vigour ten years, espe cially if it be occasionally invigorated with a top-dressing of manure. During that time it may be cut for hay every year, taking care to cut it before the flower is faded or the seed formed ; and if sheep are folded on the aftermath, the next crop will well repay the trouble. It is usually sown in spring in a crop of barley or oats, which should be sewn thin in order that the sainfoin may not be smothered. Tho land should have been prepared by a cleansing crop, such as turnips fed off by *beep folded on them. From three to four bushels of rough seed may be sown, harrowed in, and rolled. it is not often drilled, although this method, by allowing the use of the hoe between the rows, would much strengthen the young plants, and protect them against coarse grasses, which are their greatest enemies. In the first year tho sainfoin should not be fed off by sheep; and if it. is mown, it should not be mown too close to the ground. The crown of the root in the young plant rises a little above the ground, and if this be bit off or cut with the scythe the plant dies, It is useful to harrow the ground lightly, to draw the earth round the roots, and to destroy the seed-weeds soon after the barley or oats are reaped. The sainfoin does not produce a large crop the first year, for some of the seeds will lie a twelvemonth in the ground before they spring up. It is in perfection after the second year, when a portion may be reserved for seed. Sainfoin hay is extremely nourishing for every kind of cattle, especially if it has been anode without rain. Although it is not apt to heat in the stack, it must be put up in a very dry state ; and if it has suffered from rain too much care cannot be taken thoroughly to dry it, for the water insinuates itself into the hollow stems, and is long in evaporating, so that when It feels quite dry it may yet contain much water. The
mode of discovering this in to twist it strongly in the hands into is rope, when the moisture, If there is any, will ooze out. It is better to let It dry thoroughly, than, by carrying it in a hurry, to run the risk of its becoming mouldy within. In very precarious seasons it may Ise carried in a half-dried state, provided there he no moisture in it from dews or shower'', and stacked In alternate layers with good straw. It will impart some of Its fragrance to the straw, and lose none of its nutritive qualities. The same may be done with lucent or clover. The most advantageous use of sainfoin, however, is to cut it green and give it immediately to the cattle. There is little danger of their being woven by it, for It ferment." very e'owly, owing to the fibrous nature of the stem. If the situation of two field admits of occasional irrigation, without danger of the water stagnating, the produce of the sainfoin will be greatly increased; and It has been known to be cut four or even five times in II season without exhausting its strength. When it begins to appear thin on the ground, and other plants seem to get the better of the sainfoin, it is time to break it up. The land will be found much improved in fertility by the sainfoin. A poor chalk or gravel, which before would scarcely repay two seed sown in it, will now, by the gradual decay of the roots and fibres of the sainfoin, pro duce good crops without manure. If clam, it may be ploughed up for wheat ; if foul, as it is most likely to be, it may be pared and burned, and yield a crop of turnips, to be partly fed off and followed by barley. Many a poor barren tract, of calcareous rock and gravel has been fertilised and raised in value by the sole effect of the sainfoin, without which it must have remained in its unproductive state.
Although a chalky soil is best adapted to the growth of sainfoin, it may be sown with advantage in all light calcareous !mutts, provided the substratum be sound and dry. On very rich deep moulds lucent is a morn profitable crop; but sainfoin will thrive where lucent will fail, and it is particularly adapted for poor dry soils.
There is nothing peculiar in the manner in which sainfoin is made into hay. It should not be shaken about too much, but treated as clover is, for fear of injuring the flower and breaking off the leaves. The swathe should be merely turned over when dry on one side, and then, as soon as it is dry through, it should be put into small cocks, turned once or twice when the dew is off the ground, and carried to the stack as soon as it is sufficiently made. It should take is good heat in order to make it compact, but without acquiring too dark •a colour. Experience alone can teach the exact time when it should be stacked. When it is left for seed, it should be examined carefully after tho blossom fades. The lower pods will be filled with ripe seed before the blossoms at the top of the spike of flowers are withered or the geed formed in them. If the sainfoin were left standing till these seeds were ripe, the lowest would be shed; but by cutting it at a proper time these may be preserved, while most of the latter will ripen in the straw sufficiently to vegetate when sown. Rainy weather is very injurious to the seed crop; a fine time should therefore be selected, if possible, even at the nal: of a smaller crop. The produce varies front three to five, or even six, sacks per acre. It is easily threshed out, and this operation is often done on a cloth in the field, when the weather permits. It is readily done by a threshing-machine, and winnowed like corn. On the whole, there are few plants the culti vation of which is so advantageous as that of sainfoin on the limestone soils on which it thrives best.