DRILLING is a mode of sowing by which the seed is deposited in regular equidistant rows, at such a depth as each kind requires for its most perfect vegetation. It has been practised by gardeners from time immemorial, and from the garden it has gradually extended to the field. The drill husbandry, by com bining the advantages of continued tillage with those of manure and a judicious, rotation of crops, is a decided improvement on the old methods of sowing all seeds broadcast. The crops which are now most generally drilled are potatoes, turnips, beans, peas, beet-root, cole seed, and carrots ; and in general all plants which require room to spread, whether above or under the ground. The distance between the rows in these crops is generally such as to allow the use of a light plough or horse-hoe to be drawn by a horse between them. The most common distance is twenty-seven inches. The Northumberland mode of cultivating tur nips, which is adopted by most scientific farmers, consists in placing the manure in rows immediately under the line in which the seed is to be drilled, and keeping the intervals in a mellow and pulverised state by repeated stirring.
The instrument used for sowing seeds in single rows is sometimes a small light wheel barrow, which a man pushes before him ; hence called a drill-barrow. It has a box in which the seed is put, with a slide to regulate the quantity. This is allowed to fall on a wooden oĽ metal cylinder below. In the circumference of this cylinder are several cavities where the seed lodges, and is carried down into a tin funnel below ; the remainder is prevented from falling through by small brushes in which the cylinder turns. The motion is communicated
from the wheel which runs on the ground to the cylinder by means of a chain and pulleys. The improved drills, of which there are many patented varieties, are complex but very effi cient mm-hines, which sow several rows at once.
At the Smithfield cattle shows, and at the annual exhibitions of the Royal Agricultural Society, the variety of ingenious drills dis played every year is very considerable. One machine, exhibited at the Smithfield show in 1850, is Hensman's eight-row corn and turnip drill, for which a prize was awarded by the Agricultural Society at the York meeting in 1848. It is adapted for all sorts of corn and seeds ; the hopper into which the grain or seed is put is self-acting ; the axles slide, to give a shifting movement to the drills ; and there is a steering lever behind to guide the action of the drills. Another useful apparatus is Wedlake's corn and seed drill. Smith's Uxbridge drill is another kind, which has been introduced within the last few years. Some drills are formed so as to deposit manure only without seed or grain ; the hoppers are filled with soot, lime, ground bones, or some other manure brought to a fine state.