One of the “vilest of weeds?” Depends on who you asked

Our History: January 1890

A full line of binders, mowers, rakes, straw cutters and plows and harrows was available at The Patterson & Bro. Co. in Winnipeg, which ran this ad in the January 1890 issue of The Nor-West Farmer and Miller.

Among the questions discussed in that issue was the merits of couch grass, “some pronouncing it one of the vilest of weeds, and others claiming for it high nutritive qualities overweighing all the disadvantages of its growth.”

The writer favoured the former description. “I have spent a good many hours with my man digging it up,” he wrote, suggesting that the roots be turned over and exposed to the sun to prevent them spreading.

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Another writer suggested that a museum be set up in conjunction with experimental farms, and suggested the exhibit contain a sample of each year’s harvest.

“It would be interesting and instructive to have, for example, a few pounds of the once-famed wheat of the old Red River settlers at its best, in contrast to the rather degenerate descendant of the present day.”

In other news, a train from the Deloraine branch of the CPR had recently brought a load of 28,000 pounds of poultry to Winnipeg. “The fowls were all fatted in the province, and reflect great credit on the ability of Manitoba farmers to turn out such fine poultry.”

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