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It is recommended,1 also, that the dung-heap should be kept in the open air, in a spot deep sunk and well adapted to receive the moisture: it should be covered, too, with straw, that it may not dry up with the sun, care being taken to drive a stake of robur into the ground, to prevent serpents from breeding2 there. It is of the greatest consequence that the manure should be laid upon the land while3 the west winds prevail, and during a dry moon. Most persons, however, misunderstand this precept, and think this should be done when the west winds are just beginning to blow, and in the month of February only: it being really the fact that most crops require manuring in other months as well. At whatever period, however, it may be thought proper to manure the land, the greatest care should be taken that the wind is blowing due west at the time, and that the moon is on the wane, and quite dry. Such precautions as these will increase in a most surprising degree the fertilizing effects of manure.

1 Fée is of opinion, that, with reference to this branch of agriculture, the ancients displayed more skill and intelligence than the moderns.

2 This absurdity is copied from Varro and Columella.

3 I. e. in the early part of spring. In modern times, the period for manuring varies, according to the usage of different localities, being practised in all the four seasons of the year, according to the crops, weather, and climate.

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