I've been trying to give myself a quick primer on farming.
This is in service to the current Mess-in-Progress, of course. I wasn't originally going to involve any farming at all. My protagonist is an estate owner and a new one at that. He doesn't actually do any farming.
That is, until I read this while I was researching:
In war-weary England, wheat was four times what it was at the start of the war; the 6d loaf had risen to 17d.
This is a reference to England's harvest in 1801. I'm writing about 1800 and in reading about the time period, found that 1799 and 1800 had bad harvests. Very bad harvests. Apparently, it rained too much and ruined the crop.
I've been searching and digging for more evidence. Was it really that bad of a harvest? And what could a landowner do to alleviate his tenants' hunger?
I found a source to confirm the bad harvest and famine in 1800.
From History of the consulate and the empire of France under Napoleon:
"The harvest of the year 1800 having again been deficient by one-fourth, the present scarcity had followed."
I think that's really all I need to know about farming in that time period. Which is good, because I'm a city girl and I don't even really know how farmers farm now. Never mind two hundred years ago.