Infomotions, Inc.Three Acres and Liberty / Hall, Bolton, 1854-1938



Author: Hall, Bolton, 1854-1938
Title: Three Acres and Liberty
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): acre; crops; acres; crop; soil; vegetables; farm; market
Contributor(s): Sutro, Alfred, 1863-1933 [Translator]
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
Services: find in a library; evaluate using concordance
Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 82,260 words (short) Grade range: 11-14 (high school) Readability score: 56 (average)
Identifier: etext4509
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Title: Three Acres And Liberty

Author: Bolton Hall

Release Date: October, 2003 [Etext# 4509]
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Created by: Steve Solomon ssolomon@soilandhealth.org
Edited by Charles Aldarondo Aldarondo@yahoo.com





THREE ACRES

AND

LIBERTY

BY

BOLTON HALL

AUTHOR OF

"THINGS AS THEY ARE," "THRIFT," ETC.

REVISED EDITION

_"A sower went out to sow and he sowed that which was in his heart
--for what can a man sow else!"_  From "THE GAME OF LIFE."

_Or, as the Vulgate has it,--

"Exitt qui seminat seminare semen suum."_

NEW YORK

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

1918

All rights reserved._






Copyright 1907 and 1918

By THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

Set up and electrotyped. Published March, 1907.

Reprinted April, July, 1907; March, 1908; June,

September, 1910; April, 1912; April 1914.

New edition, revised February, 1918.






FOREWORD





We are not tied to a desk or to a bench; we stay there only because
we think we are tied.

In Montana I had a horse, which was hobbled every night to keep him
from wandering; that is, straps joined by a short chain were put
around his forefeet, so that he could only hop. The hobbles were
taken off in the morning, but he would still hop until he saw his
mate trotting off.

This book is intended to show how any one can trot off if he will.

It is not a textbook; there are plenty of good textbooks, which are
referred to herein. Intensive cultivation cannot be comprised in any
one book.

It shows what is needed for a city man or woman to support a family
on the proceeds of a little bit of land; it shows how in truth, as
the old Book prophesied, the earth brings forth abundantly after its
kind to satisfy the desire of every living thing. It is not
necessary to bury oneself in the country, nor, with the new
facilities of transportation, need we, unless we wish to, pay the
extravagant rents and enormous cost of living in the city. A little
bit of land near the town or the city can be rented or bought on
easy terms; and merchandising will bring one to the city often
enough. Neither is hard labor needed; but it is to work alone that
the earth yields her increase, and if, although unskilled, we would
succeed in gardening, we must attend constantly and intelligently to
the home acres.

Every chapter of this book has been revised by a specialist, and the
authors wish to express their appreciation of the aid given them,
particularly by Mr. E. H. Moore, Arboriculturist in the Brooklyn
Department of Parks; Mr. Collingwood of the Rural New Yorker and Mr.
George T. Powell; and to thank Mrs. Mabel Osgood Wright, and also
Mr. Joseph Morwitz, for many valuable suggestions; also all those
from whom we have quoted directly or in substance.

We have endeavored in the text to give full acknowledgment to all,
but in some cases it has been impossible to credit to the originator
every paragraph or thought, since these have been selected and
placed as needed, believing that all true teachers and gardeners are
more anxious to have their message sent than to be seen delivering
it.

In truth, teaching is but another department of gardening.

Practical points and criticisms from practical men and women,
especially from those experiences in trying to get to the land, will
be welcomed by the authors. Address in care of the publishers.

The Report of the Country Life Commission, with Special Message from
the President of the United States, is especially important as
showing the connection of Intensive Cultivation with Thrift for war
time.

It tells us that:

"The handicaps (on getting out of town) that we now have specially
in mind may be stated under four heads: Speculative holding of
lands; monopolistic control of streams; wastage and monopolistic
control of forests; restraint of trade.

"Certain landowners procure large areas of agricultural land in the
most available location, sometimes by questionable methods, and hold
it for speculative purposes. This not only withdraws the land itself
from settlement, but in many cases prevents the development of an
agricultural community. The smaller landowners are isolated and
unable to establish their necessary institutions or to reach the
market. The holding of large areas by one party tends to develop a
system of tenantry and absentee farming. The whole development may
be in the direction of social and economic ineffectiveness.

"A similar problem arises in the utilization of swamp lands.
According to the reports of the Geological Survey, there are more
than 75,000,000 acres of swamp land in this country, the greater
part of which are capable of reclamation at probably a nominal cost
as compared to their value. It is important to the development of
the best type of country life that the reclamation proceed under
conditions insuring subdivision into small farms and settlement by
men who would both own them and till them.

"Some of these lands are near the centers of population. They become
a menace to health, and they often prevent the development of good
social conditions in very large areas. As a rule they are extremely
fertile. They are capable of sustaining an agricultural population
numbering many millions, and the conditions under which these
millions must live are a matter of national concern. The Federal
Government should act to the fullest extent of its constitutional
powers in the reclamation of these lands under proper safeguards
against speculative holding and landlordism.

"The rivers are valuable to the farmers as drainage lines, as
irrigation supply, as carriers and equalizers of transportation
rates, as a readily available power resource, and for raising food
fish. The wise development of these and other uses is important to
both agricultural and other interests; their protection from
monopoly is one of the first responsibilities of government. The
streams belong to the people; under a proper system of development
their resources would remain an estate of all the people, and become
available as needed.

"River transportation is not usually antagonistic to railway
interests. Population and production are increasing rapidly, with
corresponding increase in the demands made on transportation
facilities. It may be reasonably expected that the river will
eventually carry a large part of the freight that does not require
prompt delivery, while the railway will carry that requiring
expedition. This is already foreseen by leading railway men; and its
importance to the farmer is such that he should encourage and aid,
by every means in his power, the large use of the rivers. The
country will produce enough business to tax both streams and
railroads to their utmost.

"In many regions the streams afford facilities for power, which,
since the inauguration of electrical transmission, is available for
local rail lines and offers the best solution of local
transportation problems. In many parts of the country local and
interurban lines are providing transportation to farm areas, thereby
increasing facilities for moving crops and adding to the profit and
convenience of farm life. However, there seems to be a very general
lack of appreciation of the possibilities of this water-power
resource as governing transportation costs.

"The streams may be also used as small water power on thousands of
farms. This is particularly true of small streams. Much of the labor
about the house and barn can be performed by transmission of power
from small water wheels running on the farms themselves or in the
neighborhood. This power could be used for electric lighting and for
small manufacture. It is more important that small power be
developed on the farms of the United States than that we harness
Niagara.

"Unfortunately, the tendency of the present laws is to encourage the
acquisition of these resources on easy terms, or on their own terms,
by the first applicants, and the power of the streams is rapidly
being acquired under conditions that lead to the concentration of
ownership in the hands of the monopolies. This constitutes a real
and immediate danger, not to the country-life interests alone, but
to the entire nation, and it is time that the whole people become
aroused to it.

"The forests have been exploited for private gain not only until the
timber has been seriously reduced, but until streams have been
ruined for navigation, power, irrigation, and common water supplies,
and whole regions have been exposed to floods and disastrous soil
erosion. Probably there has never occurred a more reckless
destruction of property that of right should belong to all the
people.

"The wood-lot property of the country needs to be saved and
increased. Wood-lot yield is one of the most important crops of the
farms, and is of great value to the public in con trolling streams,
saving the run-off, checking winds, and adding to the attractiveness
of the region. [Taken up in a special chapter of this book.]

"In many regions where poor and hilly lands prevail, the town or
county could well afford to purchase forest land, expecting thereby
to add to the value of the property and to make the forests a source
of revenue. Such communal forests in Europe yield revenue to the
cities and towns by which they are owned and managed."

These revenues would furnish good roads even in the poorest and most
sparsely settled districts.

There are a number of other reasons why people do not like to live
outside of cities--or do not succeed in farm work. There is the
difficulty of finding help. This, how. ever, rejoices the heart of
the modern sociologist. Consider--we first teach our children
independence and train them for everything but farm help or
household services. Then we degrade the "help" below a mill "hand"
so that people will not even sit at table with them at an hotel.
Next we fix a theory of conduct for them that keeps them constantly
under orders and pay them wages that make it hardly possible for
them to rise above the station to which we have appointed them.

Finally, when we move away from the haunts of men out to
Sandtown-by-the-Puddle we blame them that they do not rush to join
us. Most of them would be happier in penal servitude than in the
country. The work is as hard and requires as much skill as a
mechanic's work, besides personal qualities that are demanded of no
mechanic, and commands half its wages.

Those who, like Henry Ford, can afford to pay mechanics' wages for
help can get all they want.

Many people go to the country without plan, preparation, or
vocation, to make a living. They usually start to build a bungalow
but seldom get further than the bungle. Don't build anything without
plan. Get a comfortable house proof against cold and heat as soon as
possible and, above all, well ventilated. At present the air in the
country is good, because the farmers shut all the bad air up in
their bedrooms.

They say

"The farmer works from sun to sun
For the summer's work is never done."

We might add, it's never even half done--naturally. A donkey engine
can work like that, but then it hasn't any brains. No man can work
from sun to sun all summer and think at all or be good for anything
at the end of it.

Above all things don't work long hours, even in learning, with the
idea of saving that way. All up-to-date employers are agreed that an
eight-hour day produces more and better results than a ten-hour day
and that a twelve-hour day brings sheriffs and suicides instead of
profits.

That's just as true of the individual worker as it is of the factory
"hand." Yet most men and a few women proudly say that they "work
like a horse" (it's usually not true). They don't; a horse won't
work and can't work over eight hours a day steadily. Neither can
you: you may keep buzzing around much longer--but the best work
requires the best conditions and the best hours. You think, or you
flatter yourself that you think, that it is necessary; but nothing
is necessary that is stupid and wrong. It is hardly too much to say
that when we are tired out or ill either we have been doing the
wrong thing or doing it wrong.

There is besides, as an anti-rusticant, railroad discrimination in
favor of long hauls, but the main reason that the small farms of the
Eastern Coast are less settled than those farther west is the great
difficulty in getting farm loans or loans on farm buildings. New
York companies and others in the great cities will loan on farms
west of the Alleghenies, but even the otherwise excellent eastern
Building Loan Associations usually restrict themselves to places
within twenty-five miles of a city. The Jewish Agricultural and
Industrial Aid Society will help approved Jewish farmers to buy and
build: and there is a Federal Land Bank in Springfield, Mass., which
lends to some Farmers' Associations, of which some four thousand are
already formed. It is hoped that the State Land Bank of New York
City may improve the situation in New York for Farmers'
Organizations, but "generally nearly all available funds of the
local banks seem to be drawn off for investments in Wall Street."

However, it is not to be forgotten that this difficulty is reflected
in the lower prices of eastern Land.

One more thing that keeps many people from the country and drives
some people back to the city is the mosquito (of course there are
mosquitoes in town, but we are not out as much, so we notice them
less). Mosquitoes breed or rather we breed them, in still water in
which there are no fish, in pools, hollows in trees, wells, etc.,
and above all in old tin cans. They can no more breed without water
than sharks could.

Mosquitoes do not breed in grass, but rank growths of weeds or grass
may conceal small breeding puddles, and form a favorite nursery for
Mamma Skeet. A teacupful of water standing ten days is enough for
250 wrigglers; their needs are modest.

Different species of mosquitoes have as well-defined habits as other
birds and are classified as follows: Domestic, Migratory, and
Woodland.

The common domestic or pet species breed in fresh water, usually in
the house yard, fly comparatively short distances, and habitually
enter houses. They winter in cellars, barns, and outhouses. Some of
them are conveyors of malaria.

The Migratory Species breed on the salt marshes, fly long distances,
do not habitually enter houses, and are not carriers of diseases so
far as known.

Certain varieties of Woodland Mosquitoes breed only in woodland
pools, appearing in the early spring, and travel a greater distance
than the domestic species. They are not usually troublesome indoors.

It has been proved that malaria is transmitted only by certain
species of Anopheles, one of which is the domestic mosquito.
Eliminate this one species of mosquito and the disease will
disappear as a direct consequence. So if you hear that pretty little
song in the house, don't swear, thank the Lord that effects always
follow causes. You need never be without a bite in the house if you
have a nice cesspool handy for Sis Mosquito, for each one will have
a first-class feed with you every second or third day.

They are needless and dangerous pests or pets. Their propagation can
be prevented by draining or filling wet areas, by emptying or
screening water receptacles, and by spraying with oil where better
measures are not available. Oil should be sprinkled in any
cesspools, sewers, and catch basins, rain barrels, water troughs,
roof gutters, marshes, swamps, and puddles that cannot be done away
with. All ponds and large bodies of water should have clean sharp
edges, because in shallow, grassy edges larvae of the malarial
species are commonly found. Large ponds with clean edges, inhabited
by fish or predatory insects, are safe; smaller ponds, if wind
swept, and all ponds in the "ripple area" are safe. All rain pools,
stagnant gutters, overgrown edges of large ponds, and all
receptacles holding water not constantly renewed, are dangerous. You
raise most of your own mosquitoes.

Now a word specially concerning this revised edition.

The farm papers are supported mainly by men with large acreage, it
is the rise in value of these acres more than the rise in farm
products that has pulled the land-owning farmers out of the hole
that they were in up to about the year 1900. Farmers' knowledge,
liking, and equipment was for big fields, half cultivated, and at
first they did not like to hear that they had been wasting so much
of the labor that had bent their backs. Nor did they want to hear
that it would have been far more profitable to them to have
cultivated a few acres and left the goats and hogs or sheep to
attend to the rest as wild land until the long-expected settlers
came along to buy the land at dreamland prices.

Consequently, all the faults in the book there were, and some more
besides, have been picked out by these critics. It is surprising as
well as a notable compliment to the agricultural experts who revised
the first edition that, with one exception, no material error or
omission has been pointed out.

The more so because there is absolutely no limit to the advances in
methods and results in doing things, and in growing things, all born
of intelligent toil. Your suggestions may help the world to better
and bigger things. If you will listen at the 'phone you may sometime
hear a conversation like this:

"Hello, this is Mrs. Wise, send me two strawberries, please." "You'd
better take three, Madam, I've none larger than peaches to-day."
"All right; good-bye."

You may sometime see that kind of strawberry in New Jersey at
Kevitt's Athenia, or Henry Joralamon's, or in the berry known by
various names, such as Giant and different Joe's. But lots of people
have failed in their war garden work even on common things; lots
more ought to have failed but haven't--yet. Years ago, we, the book
and its helpers, started the forward-to-the-land movement which has
resulted in probably two million extra garden patches this war year.
I have had carloads of letters, at least hand carloads, about the
book, but not one worker who even tried to follow its counsels has
reported failure.

So don't let us have a wail from you because your "garden stuff
never comes up." Of course it doesn't; you have to bring it up, just
like a baby. That's what I've been crying for long years in the
wilderness ever since the first edition of this book. The Three
Acres may be bought on credit but eternal vigilance is the price of
Liberty and crops. To raise good crops costs time and attention and
sweat of body and of brains.

Here is a chunk of wisdom out of the excellent Garden Primer (which
you can get free by asking me for it):

"One hour a day spent in a garden ten yards long by seven wide will
supply vegetables enough for a family of six"; but the value of this
remark lies in the application of it. If you figure a bit on that
you will find that ten minutes a day will provide enough for one
person, but six hours once a week won't do. Six hours a day will
bring up a baby; but two days a week is criminal neglect for the
other five days. If you once let the weeds get a good start, say
after a rain, they will make even the angels swear. It's regular
attention that the baby and the garden and your education and your
best girl will require.

If you want more minute instructions about how to grow each
vegetable, put in words that anybody can understand without getting
a headache or a dictionary, look up "The Garden Yard" by the Author.
It is in nearly all libraries now, and it is the only book that
makes perfectly plain everything that a plain man needs to know
about growing plain things

So there is little to add in this new edition except to reinforce
what was not strong enough. In the present jumping market to revise
the prices quoted would be absurd, but it may be noted that, as in
the prices of 'cowers, the minimum prices are still about correct,
but the maximum prices have jumped almost out of sight. Every year
there are more and more very wealthy people who will pay nearly any
price for the very best. The world seems to be dividing into those
who have to count their pennies and those who couldn't count their
thousands. Of course, where war has prohibited the importation of
the strong bulbs and roots needed for forcing flowers, the prices
are about what any one who has any chooses to ask. Monopoly can
always get its own price.

This New Edition does not attempt to bring prices quoted up to date.
In these times not even a stock exchange telegraph ticker can do
that. Prices of goods in general have advanced at least 80 per cent.
By the day that this book is off the press they may have decreased,
or more likely advanced some more. The next day they may slump.
Prices of labor advance more slowly and do not slump so fast. Wages
of men gardeners have risen perhaps 50 per cent in the last ten
years, but women and children have learned to do much of the work.
They do the work cheaper because most of them have some one on whom
they can partly depend for support.

Similarly, when an example of total product given in the earlier
edition is still typical and has stood investigation, it is not
discarded in favor of a more modern instance.

It would have been easy to have revised all the figures, but of
little advantage to our readers. For example, it is encouraging to
the citizen to know that the average wheat yield per acre has
increased more than two bushels since the first edition of this
book, but it would not help the garden maker. The increase of
possible products tends to counterbalance the increased cost of
labor. So only the musty parts have been cut out of the book, which
is more needed now than ever.






TABLE OF CONTENTS





Chapter I: Making a Living--Where and How

Chapter II: Present Conditions

Chapter III: How To Buy The Farm

Chapter IV: Vacant City Lot Cultivation

Chapter V: Results To Be Expected

Chapter VI: What An Acre May Produce

Chapter VII: Some Methods

Chapter VIII: The Kitchen Garden

Chapter IX: Tools And Equipment

Chapter X: Advantages From Capital

Chapter XI: Hotbeds And Greenhouses

Chapter XII: Other Uses Of Land

Chapter XIII: Fruits

Chapter XIV: Flowers

Chapter XV: Drug Plants

Chapter XVI: Novel Live Stock

Chapter XVII: Where To Go

Chapter XVIII: Clearing The Land

Chapter XIX: How To Build

Chapter XX: Back To The Land

Chapter XXI: Coming Profession For Boys

Chapter XXII: The Wood Lot

Chapter XXIII: Some Practical Experiments

Chapter XXIV: Some Experimental Foods

Chapter XXV: Dried Truck

Chapter XXVI: Home Cold Pack Canning

Chapter XXVII: Retail Cooperation

Chapter XXVIII: Summer Colonies For City People






CHAPTER I

MAKING A LIVING--WHERE AND HOW





By thought and courage, we can help ourselves to own a home,
surrounded by acres of fruit and vegetables, flowers and poultry,
and learn the best methods so as to insure success.

In olden times any one could "farm," but it is necessary to-day to
teach people to obtain a livelihood directly from the earth.
Scientific methods of agriculture have revealed possibilities in the
soil that make farming the most fascinating occupation known to man.
People in every city are longing for the freedom of country life,
yet hesitate to enter into its liberty because no one points the
way.

Most sociologists are agreed that the great problem of our day is to
stop the drift of population toward the cities. Seeing the
overcrowding, the want and misery of our great towns, the
philanthropist chimes in with "Get the people to the country, that
is the need."

But there is no such need. Man is a social animal, he naturally goes
in flocks, he earns more and learns more in crowds. To transport him
to the country, even if he would stay, which happily he won't, would
be to doctor a symptom. As in typhoid, what is needed is not to
suppress the fever, that is easy, but to remove the cause of it.

It is not the growth of the cities that we want to check, but the
needless want and misery in the cities, and this can be done by
restoring the natural condition of living, and among other things,
by showing that it is easier and making it more attractive to live
in comfort on the outskirts of the city as producers, than in the
slums as paupers.

We know already that the natural and healthy life is, that in the
sweat of our faces we should eat bread. We observe that everything
we eat or use or make comes from the earth by labor; but no one
knows how abundantly the Mother can supply her children. It is well
said that no man yet knows the capacity of a square yard of earth.

The farmer thinks that he has done well if he gets a hundred and
fifty or two hundred bushels of potatoes from an acre; he does not
know that others have gotten 1284 bushels.

("Mr. Knight, whose name is well known to every horticulturist in
England, Once dug out of his fields no less than 1284 bushels of
potatoes, or thirty-four tons and nine hundreds weight (about 34
bushels to the ton), on a single acre; and at a recent competition
in Minnesota, 1120 bushels, or thirty tons, could be ascertained as
having been grown on one acre." P. Kropotkin's "Fields, Factories
and Workshops," page 114.)

Let us realize what an acre means. An acre is a square about 209
feet each way, 4840 square yards of land. A New York City avenue
block is about 200 feet long from house corner to house corner. It
has eight city lots 25 X 100 in its front; about double that space
(17-2/5 lots) makes an acre.

An ordinary one-horse cart holds twenty bushels, so then a full crop
of potatoes from that space would fill 56 carts.

To raise potatoes as an ordinary farmer raises them, requires him to
go over the ground not less than a dozen times, plowing, harrowing,
marking, planting, cultivating, three times weeding, three times for
bugs, and digging; it would pay him to go over it much oftener.

If he plants his rows of potatoes three feet apart, to allow for
horse cultivation, he has 69 rows of 200 feet each; which makes him
walk at least thirty-three miles over each acre. If he has a
twenty-acre lot in potatoes, he walks each year more than 650 miles
over the field and gets, let us say, 150 bushels of poor potatoes
per acre, or 3000 bushels off his twenty-acre field.

Now suppose he cultivates the soil, instead of just "raising a
crop," and gets 600 bushels of fine potatoes to the acre, he need
plant only five acres, walk only 200 miles, and, because his
potatoes are choice and early, get many times the price that his
pedestrian neighbor gets. It is much easier to grow 200,000 lb. of
feed on one acre than to grow them on ten acres.

To cultivate is to watch the soil as you would watch your cooking
and to tend the crop as you would tend your animals. The crop is as
alive as the stock and as easily gets sick.

If an ordinary farmer rents 60 acres at $5.00 per acre, a moderate
rent for good land, he pays out in cash $300, besides farm wages. If
he buys it, his interest and taxes will amount to nearly as much;
but if he tills but five acres intelligently, he can get as much out
of it as out of an ordinary farm, and even if his rent be as high as
$30 per acre for well situated land, he is $150 to the good;
besides, doing the work himself, he has no drain of capital for
wages.

Large barns and shelter for help being unnecessary, he can live in a
cheap shack till he accumulates enough for proper buildings. Many of
the successful vacant lot farmers live in a tent or in shanties made
of old boxes and such like.

Of course, if we have the knowledge and ability and the capital and
can give it the attention, it is more profitable to cultivate on a
large scale than on a small one, because in that case each worker
necessarily produces more than he gets as wages--and we pocket the
difference.

Most American farmers are holding land that somebody ought to pay
them a bonus for working, else they must come out of the little end
of the horn. They get poor or poorly situated land, because it costs
less, and then put three or four hundred dollars' worth of labor and
money a year into the land and take out four or five hundred
dollars' worth of crops.

The farmer thinks he must have big fields to feed his cattle, and
that he must have cattle to keep the big fields fertilized, so he
raises hay.

In that he makes two mistakes; hay, like most other low-priced
crops, is risky--the cost of harvesting is high and the margin of
profit small. A week of wet weather at cutting time or the
impossibility of getting enough men and machines in the week when it
should be cut, may make a loss.

But the scientific dairy man does not take that risk, nor let his
cattle use up this fodder by wandering over the fields in search of
tid-bits of grass or clover, or, goaded by the flies, trampling more
grass than they eat and wasting their manure.

He keeps the cows in cool sheds, feeds them on cut fodder, and saves
every ounce of the manure.

The modern cow is a ruminating machine for producing milk and cares
little for exercise and needs little. To exploit the cattle as
employers exploit the factory hands, he gives the cows a cool, shady
place and food, and they stand there all day long to their profit
and his.

(United States Agricultural Bulletin No. 22 says: "The New Jersey
Experiment Station has been conducting a practical trial in soiling
dairy cows for a number of years past, and finds that complete
soiling is entirely practicable, i.e. that green foliage crops may
serve as the sole food of the dewy herd, aside from the grain
ration, without injury to the animals and with a considerable saving
in the cost of milk.

"Under the soiling system a large number of animals can be kept upon
a given acreage and by allowing open-air exercises in a large yard
or pasture the practice has been demonstrated as entirely feasible
for dairy animals.

"One acre of soiling crops produced sufficient fodder for an
equivalent of 3 cows for six months. Rye, corn, crimson clover,
alfalfa, oats and peas, and millets have been found to furnish food
more economically than any other green crops in that locality. A
grain rotation was always fed in addition to the soiling crops.")

Although we can feed a cow on less than an acre by raising forage
crops, she needs to be milked every day at regular hours, and the
milk, as well as the cans and the cow, need to be cared for--and she
cannot wait.

The stock-raiser has a different proposition; he needs fields and
grass; but if time and available labor is limited, we had better
specialize on the garden--unlike the farmers.

The farmers are not to blame that they do not usually cultivate the
land intelligently. They are mostly cut off from the educational
advantages of the cities by distance and by bad roads.

Usually, that is because, desirable land being held at speculative
prices, they are forced to places where the farm itself is worth
less than the good improvements on it cost. Sometimes it is because,
also, the land is poor or worn out; more often because it is
thoughtlessly managed, nearly always because the land-hungry farmer
has taken ten times as much land as he needs for farming. In the
hope of a rise that often does not come, nearly all have bought more
land than they can take good care of with limited capital and
scarcity of help.

In addition, the farms have held out such poor prospects of fortune
that the smarter and more enterprising boys and girls have left them
for the towns, leaving behind the duller and more conservative to
the mercy of the railroads and other monopolies. What wonder, then,
that the overworked and struggling farmer finds little chance to
study, or to investigate and invest in fertilizers or even in modern
methods of agriculture.

No wonder farming does not pay if a "farmer" means a stupid man with
neither training for, nor knowledge of, his business. Those who have
the knowledge seldom have the experience and those who have the
experience seldom have the knowledge.

The bonanza farms of the West are other samples of great areas of
the most productive land in the United States being used most
unscientifically. By the methods used, the land produces less per
acre than land in the East which is not so good. Accordingly, we
find that the bonanza farm plan, where great areas of wheat are
worked by machines with labor employed only in the seed time and
harvest, is rapidly breaking up. As the land becomes valuable and is
taxed, such wasteful, wholesale methods do not pay as well as it
pays to rent or sell the land to farmers, who each for themselves
attend to details of the business. Consequently, most of those farms
are being sold off. The whole amount of wheat ever raised on them,
however, is small compared to the rice, millet, and wheat raised in
China, India, and Russia, and is insignificant compared to the
amount of produce grown on the myriad little farm plots.

A comparison of productions as taken from the 12th and 13th United
States Censuses in the bonanza farm states shows that the yield of
wheat was:

while New England shows 23.5 bu. per acre.

In 1899 In 1909

Minnesota 14.5 bu. per acre 17.4
North Dakota 13.5 bu. per acre 14.3
South Dakota 10.5 bu. per acre 14.6

By 1917 these largely increased, but the differences remain.

"The average extent of land tilled by one family in Japan does not
exceed one hectare" (2.471 acres), less than two and a half acres.
("Japan in the Beginning of the Twentieth Century," page 89.
Published by the Department of Agriculture and Commerce of Japan.)

"Farm households contain on an average 5.8 persons, of whom two and
a half persons per family may be regarded of an age capable of doing
effective work."

"So that here we have more than one person working on each acre and
each acre supporting more than two persons, notwithstanding that
their 22,000,000 tenant farmers pay sometimes four fifths of their
product as rent." (Same, page 103.)

Denmark, one of the best agricultural countries and probably one of
the happiest communities on earth, reported

1,900 farms of 250-300 acres,
74,000 farms averaging 100 acres,
150,000 farms averaging 7 to 10 acres,
1,050 cooperative dairies, and so on.

And so impressed has the ruling class there become with the
advantage of this that the Government will supply the poor worker
nine tenths of the means necessary to buy a small farm.

Says Kropotkin, "the small island of Jersey, eight miles long and
less than six miles wide, still remains a land of open field
culture; but, although it comprises only 28,707 acres (nearly 45
square miles), rocks included, it nourishes a population of about
two inhabitants to each acre, or 1300 inhabitants to the square
mile, and there is not one writer on agriculture who, after having
paid a visit to this island, does not praise the well-being of the
Jersey peasants and the admirable results which they obtain in their
small farms of from five to twenty acres--very often less than five
acres--by means of a rational and intensive culture.

"Most of my readers will probably be astonished to learn that the
soil of Jersey, which consists of decomposed granite, with no
organic matter in it, is not at all of surprising fertility, and
that its climate, though more sunny than the climate of the British
Isles, offers many drawbacks on account of the small amount of sun
heat during the summer and of the cold winds in spring."

("The successes accomplished lately in Jersey are entirely due to
the amount of labor which a dense population is putting on the land;
to a system of land-tenure, land-transference, and inheritance very
different from those which prevail elsewhere; to freedom from State
taxation; and to the fact that communal institutions have been
maintained down to quite a recent period, while a number of communal
habits and customs of mutual support, derived there-from, are alive
to the present time." (Fields, Factories and Workshops.")

"It will suffice to say that on the whole the inhabitants of Jersey
obtain agricultural products to the value of $250 to each acre of
the aggregate surface of land." (Same, page 113.))

In a small plot the character of the soil is of little consequence.
We hear of one garden in New York City on the roof of a big building
where the janitor smuggled up the needed soil in baskets.

The school gardens in New York City, some in a space as small as a
hearth rug, one yard by two, show how to use a very small patch of
land to the best advantage. Nor need it take more time than you can
afford.

"Some of the cultivators of city lots on Long Island who kept count
of the number of days they worked, show the surprising conclusion
that they earned, not farm wages (seventy-five cents a day with
board and lodging for the worker), but mechanics' wages (four
dollars per day) for every working day; as, for instance, a
stone-cutter, assisted by his two boys, worked fifty hours and made
$120.23." ("Cultivation of Vacant Lots, New York," page 12); and
four city lots is a very little farm.

But though one may not own even a little farm, almost any one who
wants to can have a home garden--it needs but a small plot of land.
Nor need we be discouraged because acquaintances who play at
gardening tell us that their vegetables cost them more than if they
bought them.

They naturally would, with thoughtless methods of cultivation, with
the selection of crops and the purchase of seeds left to an
uneducated man who does all his work the way he saw his grandfather
do it.

Nor are we to be discouraged even by the "gentleman farmer" who
runs a model farm, a model of how not to do it, for, notwithstanding
its large capital, it seldom pays.

I am passing such a farm now as I write in the train--it is
surrounded by a cut stone wall. Do you suppose the owner business
would pay if it were run in the same way that his farm is run? We
know the story of the white sparrow to find which would bring luck
to the farm--but it was out only at daybreak; the farmer got up each
morning to find the sparrow and found a lot of other things to
attend to, which did bring luck to the farm. I don't think the owner
of that wall worked at it, at daybreak.

The time is not far distant when the builders of homes in our
American cities will be compelled to leave room for a garden, in
order to meet the requirements of the people In the mad rush for
wealth we have overlooked the natural state, but we see a healthy
reaction setting in. With the improvements in steam and electricity,
the revolutionizing of transportation, the cutting of the arbitrary
telephone charges, it is becoming possible to live at a distance
from our business. May we not expect in the near future to see one
portion of our cities devoted entirely to business, with the homes
of the people so separated as to give light, sunshine, and air to
all, besides a piece of ground for a garden sufficient to supply the
table with vegetables?

You raise more than vegetables in your garden: you raise your
expectation of life.

Life belongs in the garden. Do you remember--the first chapters of
Genesis show us our babyhood in a garden--the garden that all
babyhood remembers, and the last chapter of the Apocalypse leaves us
with the vision of the garden in the Holy City, on either side of
the river, where the trees yield their fruits every month and bear
leaves of universal healing. Just so will it be in our holy cities
of the future--the garden will be right there "in the midst."






CHAPTER II

PRESENT CONDITIONS





Up to the Civil War and for some years after, our people were almost
wholly agricultural. National activity contented itself with
settling and developing the vast areas of the public lands, whose
virgin richness cried aloud in the wilderness for men.

The policy of the government, framed to stimulate rapid occupation
of the public lands, had attracted hordes of settlers over the
mountains from the older states, and immigration flowed in a steady
stream into the valleys of the Ohio and the Mississippi.

A system had grown up in the South almost patriarchal, based upon
cultivation by slave labor of enormous areas devoted exclusively to
cotton. In the North, New England had developed some few centers of
industry, drawing their support from the manufacture of the great
Southern staple. New York, Boston, and Philadelphia were growing as
outlets for foreign commerce, but as yet manufacturing flourished
but feebly and in few localities.

Such manufacturing and commercial enterprises as existed had been
laboriously built up by long years of honest working. The free lands
of the government, by giving laborers an alternative, kept up wages,
forcing employers to bid against each other for labor; and monopoly
thus being checked, individual equality was possible.

The mineral resources of Pennsylvania and Ohio were all but
unsuspected, and the calm of a people devoted to the peaceful
pursuits of agriculture rested over the country.

Railroads were few and inefficient: telegraph lines but in their
infancy. Intercourse among the people, outside of a narrow fringe on
the Atlantic coast, was cumbersome, and impeded by many obstacles.
Primitive conditions everywhere prevailed, and communities brooded
in silence, growing stragglingly in sluggish indifference, content
with coarse food and coarser living.

Such, in general, were the conditions up to 1861. Then came the
storm of shot and shell, the rain of blood, the elemental rage of
passion called the Civil War. There was a total upset of business.
Such periods of hard times as had occurred prior to that time had
been caused by the tinkering of untrained minds with the money
system or by land speculation, and not by lack of access to the
riches of nature. After four years our people awoke, as from a
nightmare, to find the old life swept away forever. In the South,
the Confederates, bitter and sullen, groping amid the ruins of their
institutions, sought to find some substitute for the agricultural
despotism exercised for generations by their slaveholding families.
In the East, the first families of the Revolution, secure in their
preeminence, assumed again the manufacturing-banking-social
prestige. The far West was still almost unknown, and remained in
possession of the buffalo and the Indian. Settlers poured, in
increasing numbers on to the unappropriated lands still left in the
states of the central West, and the center of political power
shifted rapidly to this fertile region.

Already men of keen insight foresaw a time when oil, timber, coal,
and iron must become the stay of a vastly expanding industrial
system, and bent their energies to secure the chief sources of
supply. From the nature of their work the men who built railways
first became aware of the riches of nature, and aided by an enormous
public sympathy with their efforts, monopolized all the natural
opportunities of value. Coupled with industrial development was the
gradual appropriation of the land. The time soon arrived when the
late comers either stayed in the manufacturing centers at the
railways terminals or were pushed farther and farther away from the
centers. As the landowning families multiplied, the young men were
confined to the same choice. Forced off the land, the tendency has
been to crowd the brainiest blood of America into the cities. In
addition, the competition of the new Western lands, brought into use
by railway development, has exiled the youth of New England, who
found in their rocky acres no incentive to toil. They, too, joined
the ever-increasing flow to the cities, and entered into the savage
competition of our great towns.

In our time the pendulum has swung to its extreme. At every
depression of business, armies of the unemployed perish in sight of
the land they abandoned in the hope of a brighter future. Their
children have forgotten the traditions of the soil, and the energies
of our people must now be concentrated to reverse the aimless tide
of human sufferers, which under stress continues to flow city-ward,
and to send it to repeople the silent places whence it came. The
fight will not be easily won. Changes in the national land policy
are imperative. To give one generation privileges which enslave all
who succeed it, is intolerable and will not be permanently endured.

It is easy to determine upon a policy in the quiet of the study;
different is the problem of applying a comprehensive scheme to
repeople the idle land. In the first place, where is the idle land?
In all parts of our country it exists in abundance. Almost every
state in the Union has lands which either have never been alienated,
or which have reverted to the state through nonpayment of taxes. In
the East, particularly, the competition of Western lands, aided by
discriminating freight rates, now so notorious, has resulted in the
abandonment to the mortgagee of vast areas in New York, Connecticut,
New Hampshire, Maine, and to some extent in New Jersey. These are
now largely resold.

Declining fertility and exorbitant and oppressive transportation
charges have helped to keep these lands out of use, and some still
lie idle and neglected, to excite the wonder of the social and
economic student. To use the abandoned lands of the East, equal
rates on agricultural products is a basic necessity.

The first step, now well under way, is railroad control by the
Government. Equal access to transportation is as essential as equal
access to land, for transportation is indeed an attribute of land.

Extending the inquiry westward, the coal and oil areas of
Pennsylvania and Ohio are all controlled by a few hands. The
original fertility of the farming areas of these states, together
with the fact that they have been producing for only about a
century, has enabled them to hold their own until recently, but now
only the best located tracts are in maximum production, and this can
he maintained only by the most advanced agricultural science. In
spite of greater advantages, the crowded cities and deserted country
districts are beginning to repeat in the fertile alluvial valleys of
the interior, the tragic story of the East.

In the Mississippi valley, conditions seem better. Values of farming
lands are increasing rapidly; the farms are rich and growing richer;
food products are cheap and abundant; certain staples are produced
in enormous quantities and sent to feed the cities of the East and
the industrial population of Europe. The railroads transport these
products nearly one thousand miles for the same prices as they
charge in the East for transporting them one hundred miles. Wealth,
activity, and political power concentrate at the inlet and outlet of
the railway funnel, leaving vast areas of unused and unusable land
between the terminals. Access to markets determines value. That is
why the favored lands of Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, and
Wisconsin, one to two thousand miles from market, have risen in
value to as high as three hundred dollars per acre, and the lands of
New England, New York, and New Jersey go begging at twenty to sixty
dollars per acre, unless they lie within the artificial prosperity
of the cities.

Farther west in the irrigated regions of Colorado and Utah,
restricted areas are held for special fruit crops, at prices ranging
from three hundred to two thousand dollars and up, per acre. But
here, again, monopoly, now a monopoly of natural opportunity, is a
factor in creating prices; on this, however, the vast irrigation
projects of the government, bringing into use larger and larger
areas of these favored lands, were expected to exercise a check. Up
to 1918 little has been sold. Their reclamation cost too much.

The willingness of the Southern planters to sell their lands, and so
to release them for intensive cultivation, has partly turned the
tide of immigration from the Eastern ports to the South, and the
market garden system is reaching increasing areas. The development
of factories to make cotton fabrics and to utilize the formerly
wasted cotton seed by turning it into meal for cattle and other
animals, as well as into the various food products, such as
cotton-seed oil, cottolene, etc., has stimulated the use of the
waste land around these budding factory centers, thus tending to
encourage intensive use of small, well-located tracts.

With a climate much milder and more equable than that of the
Northern states, with a potential fertility of soil, equally great
under proper management, the South is making greater strides than
any other part of the country.

The foregoing shows that in every section opportunities of getting
the people to the land exist. Where a man should go is determined by
a variety of things. If he be a newly arrived immigrant used to land
work in Southern Europe, he would find his best chance in the South;
if a German or Russian, or from any of the Northern European
countries, he would find the beet-sugar sections of Michigan
Colorado, or California more to his liking; if American born,
without much knowledge of out-door work, and feeling the need of
social life, the cheap farms of New York, New Jersey, and New
England would probably be most attractive.

Many persons write me that I say it is necessary to get good land
near population or with cheap and assured transportation
facilities--and that it must not cost more than it is worth for
gardening. "I find," they say, "that such acres are held as 'lots'
at wildly speculative prices" and they ask "Where can I find such
land?" But this is a book on agricultural use of land. Why land
costs too much and where the remedy lies are other questions, dealt
with in my "Things as They Are."

However, probably the best chances now for intensive cultivation are
in New Jersey, in the backwoods of the Middle states now made
accessible by cheap autos--and in the South.

What can be undertaken with good prospects of success will be
outlined in the following chapters.






CHAPTER III

HOW TO BUY THE FARM





Before the purchase of the land for a home in the country, some
consideration ought to be given to probable increase in land values.
Even if you are primarily interested in your early sales of produce,
you will not object to reaping an additional profit from the
presence of other people.

Inasmuch as density of population determines land values, it follows
that vacant land near a large city at $100 per acre may be cheaper
than similar land at a distance would be at $10 per acre. If you buy
real estate, you become a silent partner who does nothing, but takes
most of the profits of the business of others.

Some persons see so clearly that money is often easily gotten by
investing in land, that sometimes they make mistakes, in trying to
get in. It is as easy to be a lamb in the real estate market as it
is in the stock market.

Foresight, judgment, and experience or luck are essential to success
in real estate dealing, but help, at least in keeping out of danger,
may be had by following a few simple rules, if one can command a
little capital, borrowed or owned.

The following points, suggested by a professional land shark, will
certainly be of interest and possibly of profit to the intending
buyer. I believe myself that they contain the whole philosophy of
land speculation.

For a sure profit buy low-priced land, keeping as near the "raw
material" as possible; high-priced property is risky and expensive
to carry. An acre which costs one or two hundred dollars, or ten
dollars per lot, will cost but six to twelve dollars per year to
carry and half a dollar for taxes, and if a stable does come next
you, why, you can sell your land for a blacksmith shop.

Besides this, a ten-dollar lot, if restricted for residence or
available for business, often advances to $100 in a year; one good
house which some one else built near it may raise its value that
much.

If the land _is _high priced, see that there is some kind of a
building on it; even a shanty will usually bring in enough or save
you enough by its use to pay the taxes; so you will have that
working for you whilst you are away.

If possible, buy at auction and of reputable people who are not
boomers, or at least buy at forced sale; that is how real estate is
sold when it must be sold. Choose lots level with the curb and on
high ground, lest the expense of grading and sewering eat up your
profit.

Keep in mind that in buying land for speculation one really buys the
opportunity to tax other people, by taking part of their earnings in
the shape of rent or price. Do not then be deluded by boom schemes
in inaccessible or desolate places; choose rather that land which in
the natural course of events others must have in order to work or to
live.

Home buying in small communities is safer than in the outskirts of a
large city, because public improvements are much less costly. If you
put $500 in a $5000 home and carry the balance on mortgage, an
assessment of $1000 for streets or sewers, which helps the vacant
lots, will probably put you out of business. Whether for use or
speculation, buy in an established neighborhood or where the
circumstances and neighbors are such that restrictions or
expenditures will make its character sure. The increase in your land
value depends first upon the presence, then upon the efforts, of
others; it is by their labor you hope to profit.

Therefore, buy property on leading thoroughfares; except in a very
small section devoted to the residence of millionaires, the price of
residence property has a limit; even there the merest accident or
the whim of fashion may destroy the value, but there is no telling
what figure business property may reach.

Do not build unless you have to. It is rare that a building pays
five per cent net on the value of the land and the cost of the
house. "Who buys a house already wrought, gets many a brick and nail
for naught." If, however, you can get a piece of ground in a growing
neighborhood and live on it till you can sell at an advance, that is
the safest, and surest of investments. It delivers you from the
power of the landlord.

Lastly--in real estate--don't bite off more than you can chew.

Most of these rules apply to the purchase of suburban land. In farm
buying, keep as close to your market as you can. See that railway
facilities are all right; get land likely to be needed for other
purposes. The best way to begin is by securing all information
possible from state agricultural departments. Write to the
industrial agents of important railroads traversing the section in
which you want to locate. They have detailed information regarding
land, markets, social conditions, etc.; get from the United States
Agricultural Department a map showing the soil survey of the section
of your choice. It must be borne in mind that personal aid is not to
be expected from State Agricultural Departments, Bureaus of
Immigration, railway companies, or any public agency.

From the big farm agencies run for profit you can get lists of
thousands of properties for sale. Some State Agricultural
Departments cooperate with real estate men in their own states, by
referring inquiries for farms to them. Some states issue from time
to time lists of "abandoned farms," but these change so constantly
that they help but little except in the way of suggestion.

When you start farm-hunting take along a good map. Then you will
know a few things on your own account. Verify railroad maps and
"facts," as they are often biased. Don't waste your time wandering
around a strange locality by yourself. The local real estate man
knows more about his community than you can learn in five years. In
trying to find out things for yourself you will waste in aimless
journeys, undertaken in ignorance of real conditions, more time and
money than a real estate man's commission amounts to.

The only way to form a correct idea of the production of any given
section is to examine a particular farm in detail. Within
well-recognized limits, all tile farms thereabouts will be found of
similar character. Before spending money to look at land, learn all
you can by correspondence. Whether it is more profitable in the long
run to buy that good plot of land in a high state of cultivation
with good buildings on it, at a high price, than to buy this
exhausted piece of land with poor buildings or none at all, is a
question for the individual to decide. It depends on your energy,
grit, age, and how much money you have. It is much easier to take
advantage of what the other fellow has done, than it is to build
from the stump. You must bear in mind, however, that well kept land
in a high state of cultivation seldom goes begging in the market. On
the whole, if you have the capital to do it, you can make the
biggest wages by buying rough or neglected land, and hewing it into
shape.

If you have a knowledge of soils, you may be able to find land that
will grow something that no one supposes it will grow. This will be
particularly useful in the case of land thought to be valueless. The
lands about Miles, Michigan, were considered sterile until some one
found out that they would grow mint, a valuable crop, which made the
land salable at high prices.

Get hold of a desirable bit of the earth. All that men wear or eat
or use; everything--shelter, food, tools, and toys comes from the
land by labor. Even the capital used to make more of those things is
taken from the land. The employer and the capitalist are, at bottom,
only men who control the land or its products, who own rights of
way, mining rights, or the fee of valuable lands. Thousands have
"made" money by finding unexpected products in their land or of
their lands, oil, coal, mineral, plants; thousands more because
their land was needed by some one else, and they were paid to get
out of the way.

To speculate on these chances is risky business; to keep land that
enables you to make good pay while you wait, is profitable.






CHAPTER IV

VACANT CITY LOT CULTIVATION





In this book, necessarily, we have to take much upon the reports of
others, checking them by our own judgment and experience. The
startling accounts of what has been done and is being done on plots
of about a quarter acre to each family, however, can be easily
re-verified by any one who will go or write to Philadelphia, or
examine any present experiment or model gardens. These show what can
be done even by unskilled labor, with hardly any capital, on small
plots where the soil was poor, but which are well situated.

The directors say: "The first Vacant Lot Cultivation Associations
were organized when relief agencies were vainly striving to provide
adequate assistance for the host of unemployed. The cultivation of
vacant city lots by the unemployed had already been tried
successfully in other cities. The first year we provided gardens,
seeds, tools, and instruction only, for about one hundred families
on twenty-seven acres of ground. At a total cost to contributors of
about $1800, our gardeners produced $46,000 worth of crops."

The applicant is allowed a garden on the sole condition that he
cultivate it well through the season, and that he do not trespass
upon his neighbors. He must respect their right to what their labor
produces. A failure to observe these rules forfeits his privilege.

During twenty years, more than eight thousand families have been
assisted, many old people who could no longer keep up the rapid pace
of our industrial life, cripples whose physical condition held them
back in the race for work, persons who on account of sickness or
other misfortunes have been thrown out of the competition in modern
business, and unfortunate beings who, though clear in mind and
strong in muscle, have been forced to the ranks of the
unemployed--these have all had an opportunity opened to them:
opportunity to enjoy all of the fruits from nature's great
storehouse which their own labor and skill might secure.

The war has forced France, Italy, and England similarly to utilize
natural opportunities for subsistence in their enormous tracts of
unproductive lands. In Mexico all proprietors will be required to
designate what they propose to cultivate and the remainder will
either be allotted temporarily for agricultural purposes to those
desiring them or it will be cultivated under government management.
There is no remedy like that for poverty.

The first man who applied for a vacant lot garden came to the
Philadelphia office after the announcement in the papers, so weak
and emaciated that the doctor was afraid the poor fellow would be
unable to get out of his office without assistance. He was a widower
with three girls and a boy, the oldest girl about seventeen.

He received a garden which contained only about one fifth of an
acre. Later he observed that a part of another little farm was left
untouched on account of being very rough, full of holes, and covered
with stone and bricks. Part of this farm was below the street grade
and subject to overflow, but it was larger than the others--nine
tenths of an acre. He offered to exchange, saying he did not mind
the extra work.

His offer was accepted. In a few days the stones and bricks had been
thrown into the holes and covered with dirt. The low places had been
filled in. It was a work in which the whole family joined. A small
house was rented in the immediate neighborhood in lieu of their one
room near the foul alleys of the city slum.

Every inch of the soil was utilized. A rosy hue took the place of
the pale, wan cheek of a few months before. And now the harvest has
come, and the winter's store can be enumerated. Thirty bushels of
potatoes, four bushels of turnips, one bushel of carrots, thirty
gallons of sauerkraut, fifteen gallons of catsup, five gallons of
pickled beans, one hundred quarts of canned tomatoes, fifty quarts
of canned corn, twenty quarts of beans, one thousand or more fine
celery stalks, and many other things. Warm clothing has replaced the
badly worn garments of nine months ago. A few pieces of furniture
have been added. The boy has been provided with a small capital for
his little business. ("Vacant Lot Cultivation," Reprint from N. Y.
_Charities Review._) Better labor would of course get even better
results.

The personal benefits that have come to a few individual cases, are
largely the same that all the gardeners enjoyed in New York and
elsewhere.

An old colored woman--a grandmother--who had just been released from
one of the hospitals where she had been treated for a long time for
pleurisy, asked for a garden. It was more than a mile to the nearest
plot, but she was quite willing to go even that distance if she
could get a garden. At first, owing to her weakened condition, she
was forced to work slowly and for short periods only, but a little
assistance enabled her to get a garden started. The work proceeded
so well that more land was added to her small holding, and most of
her waking hours were now spent either in or near the garden,
working among the tender plants or watching them grow. Before the
season was half spent she had developed one of the best gardens in
the whole plot. Her surplus produce became so large that she had to
devote most of her time to gathering and selling it. Finally she
rented a small shed on a prominent street and passers-by often
stopped, and regular customers came to buy the freshly gathered
produce, the supply being not only abundant, but of great variety.

One of the best gardens, from the standpoint of value of produce as
well as for the varieties of products it contained and the artistic
arrangement, was worked by a man who had but one arm. Many other
successful and profitable gardens were cultivated by men and women
of an age when we generally expect them to depend entirely upon
others for support.

Many incidents were found where such habits as drinking and loafing
around saloons and clubs and abusing the family have been checked on
account of the gardener's time and attention being occupied in the
little farm.

One of the workers came for work in a condition of mind and body
which rendered his services almost worthless. He was scarcely able
to carry on his work for a minute beyond what he was shown. Each new
move had to be explained constantly, and even then he was often
found doing the work in the wrong way only a few minutes afterwards.
Before long, however, he began to see that his place had its
responsibilities and that the work of Mother Nature depended on his
doing his part and doing it well. By the time the crops were ready
to gather and market he came to realize that the cost of production
must come under the amount received from the sale of the produce so
as to prevent loss. By the end of the season he had learned so to
utilize his time and to organize his work and execute our plans that
we were able to recommend him to a farmer who was looking for a
handy man about the place.

In twenty years our Associations have made demonstrations of the
following facts, each demonstration proving more clearly than the
former ones:

First. That many people out of employment must have help of some
kind.

Second. That a great majority of them prefer self-help, and many
will take no other. Nearly all are able and willing to improve any
opportunities open to them.

Third. That to open opportunities to them does not pauperize or
degrade, but has the opposite effect of elevating and ennobling. It
quickly establishes self-respect and self-confidence. The best and
most effective way of helping people in need is to open a way
whereby they may help themselves. The most effective charity is
opportunity accompanied with kindly advice and a personal interest
in those less fortunate than ourselves.

Fourth. That the offering of gardens to the unemployed with proper
supervision and some assistance by providing seeds, fertilizers, and
plowing accompanied with instruction, is the cheapest and easiest
way of opening opportunities yet devised.

Fifth. That it possesses many advantages in addition to providing
profitable employment; among others, that the worker must come out
into the open air and sunshine; must exercise, and put forth
exertion,--all of which are conducive to health, and, most important
of all, he knows that all he raises is to be his own. This is the
greatest incentive to industry.

The Vacant Lot Cultivation system is a school wherein gardeners are
taught a trade (to most of them a new trade), farming, which offers
employment for more people than all the other trades and professions
combined: a trade susceptible of wide diversification and offering
many fields for specializing. But little capital is required; any
other field would require large outlay. Its greatest advantage,
however, is that the idle men and the idle land are already close to
each other--the men can reach their gardens without changing their
domiciles or being separated from their families.

It was not until after several years that the full effect of the
work was realized. A few gardeners each year from the beginning
have, after one or two years' experience, taken small farms or plots
of land to cultivate on their own account, or have sought employment
on farms near the city; but the number is quite small compared to
the whole number helped. Now more than ten per cent of those that
had gardens previously have for the last two years been working on
their own account. Out of nearly eight hundred gardeners, more than
eighty-five either rented or secured the loan of gardens that season
and cultivated them wholly at their own expense, and many others
would have done so had suitable land been available. The number of
gardens forfeited on account of poor cultivation or trespassing was
only two out of 800 plots given out.

The first important advance was early in the spring of 1904, when it
became known that a large tract of land that had been in gardens for
several years would be withdrawn from use. A number of the gardeners
came together to talk over the situation. One proposed that they
form a club to lease a tract of land and divide it up among
themselves. The plan was readily agreed to, and a nine-acre tract on
Lansdowne Avenue was rented at $15 per acre per annum. Some sixteen
families became interested' and Mr. D. F. Rowe, who had been one of
the most successful gardeners, became manager They had the land
thoroughly fertilized and plowed, and then subdivided. Some took
separate allotments, as under the Vacant Lot Association's plan, and
others worked for the manager at an agreed rate of wages per hour.
The whole nine acres were thoroughly well cultivated, and a
magnificent crop harvested.

As soon as there was produce for sale, a market was established on
the ground and a regular delivery system organized which later
attracted much attention. It was carried on by the children, of nine
to twelve years of age, from the various families. Each child was
provided with a pushcart. There were many and various styles, made
from little express wagons, baby coaches, and produce boxes

The children built up their own routes, and went regularly to their
customers for orders. They made up the orders, loaded them into
their little pushcarts, charged themselves up with the separate
amounts in a small book, and at the end of each day's sales each
child settled with the manager and was paid his commission (twenty
per cent of the receipts) in cash. These little salesmen and
salesgirls often took home four to five dollars per week and yet
never worked more than three to five hours per day. The work was
done under such circumstances that to them it was not work but play.
You can get the full report from the Philadelphia "Vacant Lot
Cultivation Associations." It's interesting.

"The greatest value that our little garden has brought us," said a
French woman, mother of a goodly number of rather small children,
"has not been in the fine vegetables it has yielded all summer, or
the good times that I and the children have had in the open air, but
in the glasses of beer and absinthe that my husband hasn't taken."
"Quite right, mother, quite right," came from a man near by. "The
world can never know the evil we men don't do while we are busy in
our little gardens."

Further, pillage of crops, which was always urged as an objection to
raising fruits or truck on open grounds, has proved to be a baseless
fear. Where any of the gardeners are allowed to camp or put up
shacks on the patches, theft does not occur and various
superintendents repeat that "the few and trivial cases of stealing
from vacant lot plots or school gardens were almost all at the
places that were fenced."

Perhaps our locks and bolts tend to suggest breaking in.

The Garden Primer issued by the New York City Food Supply Committee
gives simple but incomplete directions for planting and tending a
vegetable garden. For those who need that sort of thing, these are
just the sort of thing they need. They will be useful if you do not
follow them. The Primer tells you how to get some kind of parsnips,
chard, spinach, common onions, radishes, cabbage, lettuce, beets,
tomatoes, beans, turnips, peas, peppers, egg plants, cucumbers,
corn, and potatoes.

Don't grow these things, unless it be for your own immediate use.
Every one grows them and ripens them all at the same time. In many
places these are given away or thrown away this year. Grow anything
that every one wants and has not got, like okra, small fruits, etc.;
you can get a much better return in cash or in trade than by
spending your time "like other folks" who do not think.

So I refer to these directions for their instruction, and for your
warning However, they give the following admirable injunctions.

"Help Your Country and Yourself by Raising Your Own Vegetables."

As we will likely have to send to Europe in coming years as much or
even more food than we did last year, there is only one way to avoid
a shortage among our own people, that is by raising a great deal
more than usual. To do this we must plant every bit of available
land. (Of course, we can't; the owners won't let us. Ed.)

If you have a back yard, you can do your part and help the world and
yourself by raising some of the food you eat. The more you raise the
less you will have to buy, and the more there will be left for some
of your fellow countrymen who have not an inch of ground on which to
raise anything.

If there is a vacant lot in your neighborhood, see if you cannot get
the use of it for yourself and your neighbors, and raise your own
vegetables. An hour a day spent in this way will not only increase
wealth and help your family, but will help you personally by adding
to your strength and well-being and making you appreciate the Eden
joy of gardening. An hour in the open air is worth more than a dozen
expensive prescriptions by an expensive doctor.

The only tools necessary for a small garden are a spade or spading
fork, a hoe, a rake, and a line or piece of cord.

First of all, clear the ground of all rubbish, sticks, stones,
bottles, etc. (especially whisky bottles).

Choose the sunniest spot in the yard for your garden.

Dig up the soil to a depth of 6 to 10 inches, using a spade or
spading fork. (Deeper for parsnips and some other roots. Ed.) Break
up all the lumps with the spade or fork.

If you live in a section where your neighbors have gardens, you
might club together to hire a teamster for a day to do the plowing
and harrowing for you all, thus saving a large amount of labor.

After your garden has been well dug, it must be fertilized before
any planting is done. In order to produce large and well-grown crops
it is often necessary to fertilize before each planting. Very good
prepared fertilizers can be bought at seed stores, but horse or cow
manure is much better, as it lightens the soil in addition to
supplying plant food. Use street sweepings if you can get them.

The manure should be well dug into the ground, at least to the full
depth of the top soil. The ground should then be thoroughly raked,
as seeds must be sown in soil which has been finely powdered.

Lay out the garden, keeping the rows straight with a line. Straight
rows are practically a necessity, not only for easier culture but
for economy in space.

After you have marked all of your rows, the next step is opening the
furrow. (A furrow is a shallow trench.) That is done with the hoe.
(Best and quickest with a wheel hoe. Ed.) After the furrow is
opened, it is necessary that the seed be sown and immediately
covered before the soil has dried In covering the seeds the soil
must be firmly pressed down with the foot. This is important.

In buying seed it is best to go to some well-established seed house,
or, if that can't be done, to order by mail rather than to take
needless chances. With most kinds of seeds a package is sufficient
for a twenty-foot row.

Begin to break up the hard surface of the soil between the plants
soon after they appear, using a hand cultivator or hoe, and keep it
loose throughout the season. This kills weeds; it lets in air to the
plant roots and keeps the moisture in the ground.

By constantly stirring the top soil after your plants appear, the
necessity of watering can be largely avoided except in very dry
weather. An occasional soaking of the soil is better than frequent
sprinkling. Water your garden either very early in the morning or
after sundown. It is better not to water when the sun is shining
hot.

The planting scheme can be altered to suit your individual taste.
For instance, peas and cabbage are included because almost everybody
likes to have them fresh from their garden; but they occupy more
space in proportion to their value than beets and carrots. Therefore
a small garden could be made more profitable by omitting them
altogether, or cutting them down in amount and increasing the amount
of carrots, beets, and turnips planted; or any of the vegetables
mentioned which may not be in favor with the family can be left out.

The kind of season we have would change the date of planting. In
raising vegetables, as in everything else, one should use one's
common (or garden variety of) sense. A good rule is to wait until
the ground has warmed up a bit. Never try to work in soil wet enough
to be sticky, or muddy; wait until it dries enough to crumble
readily.

Gardening is not a rule of thumb business. Each gardener must bring
his plants up in his own way in the light of his own experience and
in accordance with the conditions of his own garden. A garden lover
who has a bit of land will speedily learn if his eyes and his mind,
as well as his hands, are always busy, no matter how meager his
knowledge at the beginning.

There is plenty of land--if you can only get it.

Says Carl Vrooman, Assistant Secretary of Agriculture, in regard to
the food problem:

"Millions of acres of farm land are being held out of use and other
millions of acres are being cultivated on a wasteful and inefficient
basis. Land values have risen at an unprecedented rate. They are
based not upon what the farm will earn at the present time, but on
an expectancy of what it will be worth in the future. The farmer's
son or the tenant farmer, with little or no capital, cannot hope to
acquire possession of a farm w hen the price of land is SO high that
his earnings would not pay the interest on the investment. The
result is that land remains idle or in the hands of tenants, and
thousands of farmers' boys desert the country for the city.

". . . . What we need, and need badly, is a program of taxation
which, without throwing additional burdens on the bona fide farmer,
will place land now idle within the reach of men of limited means
who possess the ambition and the ability to cultivate it."

You can see that poor ignorant people, women, boys, cripples, old
men, often on less than 100 X 150 feet each, not only in
Philadelphia, but as war gardeners in New York, and most other
towns, have been able to support themselves by their work on the
land. You can do much better.

To be sure, they had valuable land and often seeds free, but for
such little pieces of land these are small items, and many of them
had no certainty of having the land even for a second year,
consequently they could not have hotbeds or any permanent
improvement. You can make all these things.

Then what can you do? Only remember they had intelligent instruction
and did the work themselves, and got the whole product; often the
children helped--they thought it fun. It does not pay to farm a
small piece of land where all the workers have to be hired. Nor does
it pay if one calculates merely to stick in seeds with one hand and
pull out profits with the other.






CHAPTER V

RESULTS TO BE EXPECTED.





"If we get every one out on the farms, then there will be an
over-production of farm products and a fall in prices."

True, but there are farmers who could do better in towns; what we
want to do is to make it easy for people to get on the land about
the cities, then it would be equally easy for those farmers who are
better adapted for city life to get near the cities.

Under present conditions, where the worker is forced out fifteen or
twenty miles from the town by the high price of land and the large
amount of land required, the farmer is as much cut off from the city
as the city dweller is cut off from rural life.

We need not be afraid to teach men better ways; there will always be
plenty too stupid or too old or too isolated to learn; these will
remain a bulwark against too sudden change.

Dr. Engel, former head of the Prussian Statistical Bureau, informs
us that "Scientific farming succeeds because a given amount of
effort, when more intelligently directed, produces greater results.
Inasmuch, then, as the amount of food which the world can consume is
limited, the smaller will be the number of farmers required to
produce the needed supply, and the larger will be the number driven
from the country to the city. It has already been observed that if
34 scientific methods were universally adopted in the United States,
doubtless one half of those now engaged in agriculture could produce
the present crops, which would compel the other half to abandon the
farm." This is "Engel's Law."

This "argument" assumes that we are now utilizing all the land
possible and that every one is fully supplied with food. But when we
consider the great masses of people in the slums of all cities who
are always underfed and whose constant thought is about their next
meal; when we see hundreds of able-bodied men waiting in line until
midnight for half a loaf of stale bread, surely it seems that there
is a possibility of keeping all of the present farmers at work, if
not of finding new fields for others, if we make our conditions such
that there will be opportunities for every able-bodied worker to
labor at remunerative employment.

Professor L. H. Bailey, a most industrious and accurate observer,
says: "Dr. Engel's argument rests on the assumption that
agriculture produces only or chiefly food; but probably more than
half of the agricultural products of the United States is not food.
It is cotton, flax, hemp, wool, hides, timber, tobacco, dyes, drugs,
flowers, ornamental trees and plants, horses, pets, and fancy stock,
and hundreds of other non-edible commodities. The total food produce
of the United States, according to the twelfth census, was
$1,837,000. The cost of material used in the three industries of
textile, lumber and leather manufactories alone was $1,851,000,000.

"Dr. Engel thinks that the outlay for subsistence diminishes as
income increases; but comforts and luxuries increase in intimate
ratio with the income, and the larger part of these come from the
farm and forest. Dr. Engel, in fact, allows this, for he says that
'sundries become greater as income increases."'

We have already abundance of information about almost every county
in the Union, published by Boards of Trade and land boomers, like
the following about "Oxnard, Ventura County, the center of the
famous lima bean district in California. For a year the returns from
farm products alone, in this vicinity, are estimated at over
$2,000,000. The sugar factory, which uses 2000 tons of beets every
twenty-four hours, requires the yield of about 1900 acres every
season. The beet crop is rotated with beans, and the factory's
supply is kept good by systematic methods. Two thousand head of
cattle are being fattened at the present time in the company's yard
on the beet pulp. Much of the pulp is also sold to local stockmen,
who value it highly for feed. The factory turns out 5000 bags of
sugar every day." And again:

"Eastern farm lands steadily declined in price up to about 1902, so
that Eastern land sold for less than Western land of the same
quality and of like situation; but the tide seems at last to have
turned, and much money is now being made in buying up cheap farms
and especially in sub-dividing them for small cultivators."

That sort of thing is interesting; but it is not what a man wants to
know--he is anxious to learn how much he can make and where and how
to do it.

The man who seeks a comfortable living will do better to rent on
long lease or buy a few acres convenient to trolley or railroad
communication with a city; besides the returns which will come to
the farmer from the use of a few acres, if he is the owner he will
get a constant increase in the value of the land, due to the growth
of the city. If the city grows out so that the land becomes too
valuable to farm, he will be well paid for leaving.

(Although progress is continually forcing laborers back upon less
desirable land, their loss, unless they are the owners, is the
landowner's gain.)

The amount of product to be grown for one's own use depends on the
size of the family and its fondness for vegetables.

"An area of 150X100 feet [about two fifths of an acre] is generally
sufficient to supply a family of five persons with vegetables, not
considering the winter supply of potatoes; but the acres must be
well tilled and handled." (Bailey, "Principles of Vegetable
Gardening.")

"The produce that could thus be obtained from an acre of land well
situated would abundantly supply with nearly all the vegetables
named, nineteen families, comprising in all 114 individuals."

In our garden we must know what we want and know how to get it.

(It is impossible to treat exhaustively of the various crops in a
book of this kind. On onion culture alone there are four standard
books, besides seven or eight recent experimental station bulletins.

"In a family garden 100 X 150 feet (which equals six New York City
lots), the rows running the long way of the area, eight or ten feet
may be reserved along one side for asparagus, rhubarb, sweet herbs,
flowers, and possibly a few berry bushes. A strip twenty feet wide
may be reserved for vines, as melons, cucumbers and squashes. There
remains a strip seventy feet wide, or space for twenty rows three
and one half feat apart. This area is large enough to allow of
appreciable results in rotation of crops; and i! it is judiciously
managed, it should maintain high productiveness for a lifetime."
(Bailey, "Principles of Vegetable Gardening."))

"The things to be considered in the home garden are: (1) a
sufficient product to supply the family; (2) continuous succession
of crops; (3) ease and cheapness of cultivation; (4) maintenance of
the productivity of the land year after year.

"The ease and efficiency of cultivation are much enhanced if
all crops are in long rows, to allow of wheel-tool tillage either by
horse or wheel-hoe."

The experience of the Vacant Lot Gardeners (Chapter IV) shows that
if the land be near a large market where the product can be peddled
or sold by the producers or by those (as in Mr. Rowe's case), with
whom he directly deals, more than twenty-five dollars capital is not
necessary, but Peter Henderson ("Gardening for Profit") estimates
that to get the best results, $300 capital per acre is required for
anything less than ten acres.

Where the land is favorably situated a fortune may be made in
cultivation of a few acres--with brains.

Quinn says ("Money in the Garden") that he knows a large number of
market gardeners worth from ten to forty thousand dollars each, none
of whom had five hundred dollars to begin with.

If one has not enough money to get all that can be gotten out of his
plot, it is best to put part of the land into clover to fit it for
later use or to use it for raising grass.

Results undoubtedly come from hard work; but it is not necessary, in
order to cultivate a little land successfully, that you should work
all day on your hands and knees; if you can raise fruit or nuts,
this is not needed at all.

But for vegetables a certain amount of it is necessary--when there
is a large job of that kind of weeding to be done, you can hire
Italians or other foreigners to do it better and cheaper than you
can do it yourself. Those who will read this book can earn more with
their heads than their hands; but when weeding is needed after a
sudden shower and there is no one else, you must do some of it
yourself; the weather will not wait for you to "get a man," and if
you are not willing to do such things, your chances of success are
greatly lessened.

Here is the experience of one who "got a man":

"My garden, to begin with, was in the most rudimentary condition,
having been allowed to run to grass. After digging up a spot about
ten feet square in the turf, taking the early morning for the work,
I decided that it would require all summer to get the garden fairly
spaded up, so I hired a stalwart Irishman to do the work for me,
which he did in a week, charging me nine dollars for the job. As he
professed to be also an expert in planting vegetables, I bought a
supply of seeds in the city and intrusted them to him, assuring
myself that once in the ground the rest of the work would fall to
me; if I could not keep a garden patch fifty feet square clear of
weeds, I had better abandon the business at once, and all hopes of
making a living out of scientific gardening. The beginning was an
unfortunate one. The weather happened to be first very wet, and then
so dry and hot that my vegetables were unable to break their way
through the baked earth. When my peas and beans still gave no signs
after being in the ground for two weeks, I discovered that the whole
work would have to be done over again. A Presidential campaign was
beginning, which kept me in town often late at night, so that the
chief labor of the garden fell to my faithful Irishman, who got far
more satisfaction out of it than I did. The vegetables finally did
come up above the surface, and many an evening I finished a hard
day's work by pumping and carrying hundreds of gallons of water to
pour upon potato plants, tomatoes, beans, and other things which a
friend of mine, an expert in such matters, assured me were
curiosities of malformation and backwardness. My Irishman told me
that it was all for want of manure, and by his advice I bought six
dollars' worth of manure from a neighboring stable, and had it
spread over the ground. The bills for my garden were meanwhile
mounting up. I had begun the spring with a garden ledger, keeping an
accurate account of every penny spent, and hoping to put on the
other side of the page a tremendous list of fine vegetables. The
accounts are before me now, and I presume that every one who has
been through the same experience has preserved some such record."
(Naturally, if he began that way.) ("Liberty and a Living," by P. G.
Hubert.)

If your idea of farming is to bury "some seeds" in untilled ground,
regardless of suitability, and "wait till they come up," you will
wait in vain for a decent crop.

Says Professor Roberts in the "Farmstead" (Macmillan), "Mushrooms
sell at fifty cents per pound; maize for one half cent per pound.
Why? Because anybody, even a squaw, can raise maize, but only a
specially skilled gardener can succeed in mushroom culture."

But enough has been said to show that you must cultivate with
brains. The Germans say, "What your head won't do, your legs have
to."

"We'll have a little farm,
A pig, a horse and cow
And you will drive the wagon
While I drive the plow,"

is very pretty. The horse and the pigs are practical, if you can
take care of them yourself; pigs are good farm catch-alls. If you
have to pay a man to do it, you had better hire your horses and buy
your pork.

Two well-groomed, healthy cows, one calving in the spring and one in
the autumn, can be made a source of profit, and of valuable manure,
if you have land enough in a neighborhood where up-to-date parents
are willing to pay ten to twenty cents a quart for pure milk for
their infants or even for family use. But your land and your own
baby's care and milk will probably be enough for you to attend to
promptly and thoroughly every day--and night.

It is an age-old experience that if we take care of a little land,
the land will take care of us. In Ferrero's "Grandezza e Decadenza
di Roma" is an interesting account of Marcus Terentius Varro's "De
Re Rustica." Varro wrote in the year 37 B.C., and as he was then
eighty years old, he had seen the transformation of Italy from an
agricultural to a manufacturing, trading community and the
accompanying wreck of the old agricultural system, which, of course,
he laments.

The growth of vast landed estates largely held by imperial
favorites, as Pliny said, destroyed Italy. So fearful has the
destruction been that it is only in our generation that the Campagna
at Rome, which was once an intensely fruitful quilt of garden
patches, has been reclaimed from the fever-smitten swamp to which
vast landlordism had reduced it.

In the third book of "De Re Rustica," Varro recommends as his
remedy, intensive cultivation close to the cities, and the breeding
of "fancy stock," including pigeons' snails, peacocks, deer, and
wild boars.

He tells how an aunt of his made 60,000 sesterces ($3000) in one
year by raising thrushes for the Roman market, at a time when an
excellent farm of about 200 acres only yielded 30,000 sesterces per
annum. He quotes another case of one who made 40,000 sesterces per
annum from a flock of one hundred peacocks, by selling the eggs and
the young. Those old Roman women weren't so slow.

Ferraro calls Varro's work one of the most important for the history
of ancient Italy and says historians have made a mistake in not
reading it.

At the time of the migration of the barbarians (350 to 750 A.D.),
the lot of each able-bodied man was about thirty morgen (equal to
twenty acres) on average lands, on very good ground only ten to
fifteen morgen (equal to seven or ten acres), four morgen being
equal to one hectare. Of this land, at least a third, and sometimes
a half, was left uncultivated each year. The remainder of the
fifteen to twenty morgen sufficed to feed and fatten into giants the
immense families of these child-producing Germans, and this in spite
of the primitive technique, whereby at least half the productive
capacity of a day was lost. (From "The State," by Franz
Oppenheimer, p. 11.)

In the Orange Judd prize contest, merely for the clearest account of
a garden, not for results at all, a number of the contestants raised
produce at the rate of $150 to $400 per acre and over, even in
semi-arid regions; for instance, L. E. Burnham says that he raised
on his first garden of about one third of an acre in eastern
Massachusetts, garden stuff which he sold to summer cottagers for
$61.69.

This took about eight days' work, nearly all with a wheel hoe.

Remember about the present increased and changing prices and costs?
At the present writing, 1917, the advances in costs and prices would
probably average about three quarters, and those of common labor
perhaps one third over those given in the text. In other respects,
the instances and authorities, still pertinent, have been retained
in this revision.

It would have been waste, not thrift, to get a new authority to tell
us that straw makes the cleanest mulch for strawberries; that's the
reason they were called strawberries; and they grew just the same
way ten years ago.

L. E. Dimosh of Connecticut raised on one quarter of an acre
$146.21, of which over $85 was profit.

In other cases the profits were $142 (Gianque, Nebraska) per acre;
and over $295 (Dora Dietrich, Pennsylvania); with the rather
exceptional profit at the rate of $570 (Mrs. Hall, Connecticut).
Some showed a loss.

Some of the town or city lots yielded very high profits; one of a
third of an acre gave a profit of $224.33 (Edge Darlington, Md.).

The summary "based upon the reports of five hundred and fifteen
gardens in nearly every state and territory and in Canada and the
provinces, may be considered accurate and reliable. Covering such a
vast territory local conditions are avoided." It shows that "the
average size of farm gardens was 24,372 square feet, or about half
an acre, the average labor cost $26.34, the average value of product
was at the rate of $170 per acre, and the net profit over $80 per
acre."

To get results we must first learn and then teach what we know. The
finest game in the world is to teach. No one ever knows anything
thoroughly till he tries to teach it.

When you tell a person how to do a thing, he doesn't know how to do
it himself. When you show him how to do it, still he doesn't know
that he could do it himself. But when you get him to do it himself,
then he knows.

Country boys will believe that early tomatoes can be raised by
starting them in the house; but like the rest of us they don't know
how to do it, and when spring comes and it is time to do such
things, they are busy on the farm. There are several schools trying
the experience of allowing the children to plant in window boxes in
early April and are showing them how to do it. But as there is not
room for all the children to plant in these window boxes, there is a
new idea which originated in the country, where the children are
engaged in the fall and the spring assisting their parents at
agricultural work.

It was hard to get up any interest in school gardens, but it was all
the more important that they should have agricultural instruction in
the winter time.

At Berkeley Heights, N. J., we devised this simple plan, and it
works. We made a number of wooden boxes, one foot wide, two feet
long, so they will just fit on the ledge of a school desk. They are
only three inches deep, with a bottom of tin, turned up at the
edges, or of well painted pine, white-leaded at the joints. There is
no drainage, since we discovered that if they are not watered too
much, they do better without drainage. The holes usually made in the
bottoms of flower boxes carry off a lot of plant food with the water
that runs through.

Now, how to store these boxes when they are not in the sunny places
near the windows? Why, we set up four posts of one-inch stuff at the
four corners, so that the box looks like a kitchen table turned
upside down (see illustration). Now the boxes filled with earth and
with the young plants growing can be stored at night, one on top of
the other, by the wall of the schoolroom.

If it is going to be cold, and over Sundays, the pile of them can be
covered with newspapers, which keep them from getting chilled and
from drying up, or the boxes can be covered and carried home by the
children. We found that for most plants nine inches is high enough
for the posts, and that well-seasoned one-inch lumber is heavy
enough not to warp if it is painted inside and out, and it is not
too heavy to lift.

By the way, better paint the joints before the sides are nailed
together. It makes them more water-tight. Four screws at the corners
will make them still tighter.

The scholars raise lettuce, parsley, onions, and strawberries, and
all kinds of small plants, as well as flowers, in the winter; and
when the plants get too big or two crowded for the boxes, they are
separated and transplanted into other boxes to be taken home.

This was so successful that we devised a big window box which is
suited for home use also; it is just as wide as the window and half
as long again as it is wide. But this box does not stand outside on
the window sill; if it did, the plants would freeze. One end only
rests on the inside window sill where it gets the sun; the end is
supported by two legs of the same height that the window sill is
from the floor.

When a nice warm day comes, the other end of the box is pushed out
of the window and the sash closed down on it to keep it from falling
out. A couple of cleats or nails in the window jamb help to hold it
in place.

Of course, the box has to be watched and taken in if it turns cold,
but it's astonishing how much can be raised and how much more can be
learned out of season by the school desk boxes and the home window
sliding boxes.

Try it and see for yourself.

The children can learn as much about some things from a box 2X1 ft.
as they can from a children's garden. Here are a couple of samples
of what the kids themselves in a city school think of it.

"DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

_"Office of the Principal of Public School No. 7_

"VAN ALST AVE., ASTORIA, QUEENS

"I inclose a few compositions that were written by some of our boys
and girls of the Fourth Year. You will recognize the descriptions of
your Garden Trays for classroom use Unfortunately the free space in
the classroom is limited, so we have found it necessary to allow
each pupil only part of a box.

"The children themselves are delighted, as you can see by their
compositions.

"Very sincerely yours, (Signed)"

AGNES A. CORDING

"Asst. Principal."

P. S. No. 7

Grade 4 A--April 2l, 1915.

Arthur Miller, Age 10

OUR GARDEN

At first we planted radishes then onions and lettuce and beans and
sunflowers. Each one of us have 1/4 of a box. When we had finished
that we brought them up to the front of the room and then watered
them and went home.

Anna Duerr, Aye 8

MY GARDEN

I have a garden. It is a box. I have a quarter of a box for my very
own. My garden has five rows. In the first there are radishes, in
the second lettuce, in the third onions, in the fourth beans, in the
fifth sunflowers. I hope my garden grows up.

Of course these are only preparatory for profitable work. We have
cases in which $2000 has been recorded from sales in one year from
one acre, and many cases in which at least $1000 worth of produce
has been sold from an acre. These are sales, not profits.

Such results are not due to the boundless and fertile soil of the
new world nor to small farming alone--they are due to intelligence.

Professor Ronna gives the following figures of crops per acre at
Romford (Breton's Farm): 28 tons of potatoes (say 952 bushels), 16
tons of marigold, 105 tons of beets, 110 tons of carrots, 9 to 20
tons of various cabbages, and so on.

It was suggested to the Agricultural Department that it might fix
standards of what is a good attainable crop.

On every golf links we have what is called a Bogie score posted up.
That is a score that a certain mythical Captain Bogie, supposed to
be an average good player, could make on those links. On one typical
club-course, for instance, the Bogie score is 42. Though it has been
done in 37, the ordinary player congratulates himself when he gets
down to the Bogie score.

Now, if there were standards attainable to ordinary intelligent and
good cultivation set in each section, it would enormously encourage
farmers to reach them, which may be of great importance.

One of the heads of the Department replied as follows:

'"In regard to fixing a standard for each farmer to strive to
attain, I think that a very good idea; but the standard for each
crop in each particular locality would necessarily be somewhat
different from that in every other locality. Persons who have had
experience in experimental work keenly appreciate these points. The
work which is done upon one soil formation under different climatic
conditions in one season, does not necessarily find a duplicate in
any other locality, and the experience is that what is accomplished
in one year would not be duplicated on the same soil and under the
same management again in several years, for the conditions under
which agriculture is carried on are so many of them outside of the
control of the operator that it is very difficult to predict results
or to attain any fixed standard. This is necessarily so with an
operation which has so many uncertain factors to deal with as
agriculture. Humidity of the atmosphere and of the soil, the
available plant food in the soil, methods of tillage, fertilizers
used, recurrence of frosts, amount of sunlight, the altitude and
latitude of different localities, all have a bearing upon crop
production. It is, therefore, very difficult to fix any approximate
standard or average production for any particular locality without
basing it upon a long series of years. I think, however, that it is
a subject worthy of agitation, and it might inspire agriculturists
to better work were such an ideal fixed upon."

This indicates that each experiment station or progressive farmer or
teacher of agriculture might advantageously establish the local
"Bogie score" of what might fairly be expected.

We know how misleading averages are. The man who tried to wade
across a stream whose average depth was two feet, was drowned. "The
writer used to go to a fishing club of which Cornelius Vanderbilt
was a member. One of the standard jokes there was that the thirty
members are worth on an average over two million apiece, that is,
Cornelius sixty millions, and the rest of us (comparatively)
nothing. Which are you to be? A Vanderbilt among cultivators, or
the other fellow who makes the 'average'?" ("Money Making in Free
America," by the Author.)

But even making all allowances we see that we must cultivate much
better than the "average," to make anything more than the farmer's
hard living off the land. Peter Dunne tells us what kind of a grind
that is.

"This pa-aper says th' farmer niver sthrikes. He hasn't got th' time
to. He's too happy. A farmer is continted with his farm lot. There's
nawthin' to take his mind off his wurruk. He sleeps at night with
his nose against th' shingled roof iv his little frame home an'
dhreams iv cinch bugs. While th' stars are still alight he walks in
his sleep to wake th' cows that left th' call f'r four o'clock. Thin
it's ho! f'r feedin' th' pigs an' mendin' th' reaper. Th' sun arises
as usual in th' east, an' bein' a keen student iv nature he picks a
cabbage leaf to put in his hat. Breakfast follows, a gay meal
beginnin' at nine an' endin' at nine-three. Thin it's off f'r th'
fields where all day he sets on a bicycle seat an' reaps the bearded
grain an' th' Hessian fly, with nawthin' but his own thoughts an' a
couple iv horses to commune with. An' so he goes an' he's happy th'
livelong day if ye don't get in ear-shot iv him. In winter he is
employed keeping th' cattle fr'm sufferin' his own fate an' writin'
testymonyals iv dyspepsia cures." ("Mr. Dooley Says.")






CHAPTER VI

WHAT AN ACRE MAY PRODUCE





We have shown what an acre has produced. You must figure out for
yourself what you can make your acres produce and what the product
can be sold for.

All progress in agriculture has come heretofore through experiments,
made mostly by uninformed and untrained men. What may not be done by
practical learning and applied intelligence?

The wonderful recent advances have been made in just that way.

"The modern improved methods in agriculture, known collectively as
intensive farming, have nearly all had their origin in the hands of
truck farmers and market gardeners. No class of the rural population
is more alert in utilizing the newest researches and discoveries in
all lines of agricultural science, and none keeps in closer touch
with the agricultural colleges and experiment stations."
("Development of the Trucking Interests," by F. S. Earle.)

Still, it is not advisable for the ordinary city dweller, however
intelligent, without other means and without either experience or
study, to cast himself upon a small patch of ground for a living;
but if he can give it most of his time mornings and evenings, or if
he sees, as many do, that he will be forced out of a position, it
would be well for him seriously to consider intensive cultivation as
a resource.

It would be the greatest blessing to our day laborers if they could
secure an acre of land which they could till in conjunction with
their other labor. If time and change 90 works upon society as to
put the laborer out of a job, he will be safe in his acre home and
can live from it and be happy and contented.

The time required to cultivate an acre is much less than is
generally supposed.

The maximum time required seems to be that given in the University
of Illinois Experiment Station at Urbana, Bulletin 61, by J. W.
Lloyd, at the rate of 140 hours (say 14 days) with one horse and 250
hours (say 25 days) for hand labor. With a great variety of crops,
or with poor labor add one half to this time allowance. The results
vary greatly.

An acre of northeastern Long Island will produce 250 to 400 bushels
of potatoes at a selling price of fifty to seventy five cents per
bushel, which wholesale, at those figures much below present prices,
bring an income of $125 to $300 to the grower. The actual cash
outlay in one instance was:

Seed Potatoes

$10.00

Commercial Fertilizer

13.00

Spraying for blight and pests

4.00

TOTAL

$27.00

250 bu. selling at the minimum price

$125.00

Less the cash outlay

27.00

Income to the grower from an acre

$98.00

A production of 400 bushels costs no more cash outlay per acre,
while the income is big wages to the farmer.

If but one acre be grown and hand labor is used, the labor might
cost an average of $40 per acre, with wages at $1.35 to $1.50 per
day, and if the produce is shipped any distance by rail and
consigned, it would cost $40 to $50 to pay selling charges, leaving
you a profit of about $30 per acre on this crop. Other crops in the
rotation might not be so profitable, hence it is not fair to figure
an income on one. But, of course, in the above estimate, we are
considering mainly the cases where the gardener does the work and
earns the wages himself.

An acre will bear if devoted to each crop, of:

Blackberries, 10,000 qt., which at 7 cent a qt., would bring $700.00
Dewberries, 9,000 qt., say at 7 cent a qt. 630.00
Gooseberries, 250 bu. at $2.00 a bu. 500.00
Strawberries, 8,000 qt. at 5 cent a qt. 400.00
Currants, 3000 plants yield 6000 bu. 200.00
Raspberries, per acre 200.00 to 600.00
Peaches, per acre 200.00 to 400.00
Pears, per acre 200.00 to 500.00
Apples, per acre 100.00 to 500.00
Grapes 100.00

Five, or even three acres will give a good living if this can be
approximated:

An acre will produce in vegetables--either

Asparagus, 3000 bunches at 20 cent a bunch, would be $600.00
Cauliflower, 100 to 300 bbl. at $1.50, say 450.00
Onions, 600 bu. at 75 cent per bu. 450.00
Cabbage Seed, 1000 lb., at 40 cent a lb. 400.00
Brussels sprouts, 3000 qt. at 10 cent a qt. 300.00
Celery, 600 bunches at 5 cent a bunch 300.00
Parsnips, 300 bu. at 1.00 a bu. 300.00
Lettuce, 9000 heads at 3 cent a head 270.00
Lima Beans, 50 bu. at $5.00 a bu. 250.00

We may hope to get from an acre, respectively in

Potatoes, 300 bu. at 75 cent a bu, would be $225.00
Cabbages, 20 tons at $10.00 a ton 200.00
Carrots and Beets, 200 to 400 bu 150.00
Tomatoes, 200 crates at 75 cent a crate 150.00
Early Peas, 50 bu. at $2000 a bu. 100.00
Turnips, 400 bu. at 25 cent a bu 100.00
Spinach, 100 bbl. at 50 cent a bbl. 50.00

Mr. D. L. Hartman, whose experience in the North is given on a later
page, has since moved to Little River, Florida. He writes in 1917:

"I have recently sold the last strawberries of a small plot. Owing
to a combination of circumstances it produced, I think, the largest
value per area of any crop I have ever cultivated. The main factors
were high prices realized and heavy yield.

Area of plot, a trifle over one fifth acre. Total yield, 2295
quarts, total receipts, $ 4703.80.

First berries picked January 2nd; last berries picked June 26th;
Variety, Brandywine.

"This shows a yield of 11,107 quarts per acre worth at the same
rate, $3398.00.

"The fruit was all sold to stores in Miami (five miles distant) and
brought an average you notice of 30-2/3 cents per quart for the
crop, the highest bringing fifty cents per quart. The average price
during the ordinary seasons is about twenty cents per quart. My
ordinary average yield is less than half of this yield or about 5000
quarts per acre, and that is much above the average of most yields
of other growers. The crop was started with northern plants, set
just as for matted rows in the North, then early in November plants
were dug up and set out in order in rows 12 inches apart and 8-1/2
inches apart in the row, leaving every fifth row vacant for paths.
It is super close culture; one plant per square foot for the total
area or a little more.

"I often think that if I were operating in the North again I would
like to try strawberries the same way, except that I would do the
transplanting September 1st instead of November 1st as here, since I
would expect them to grow larger and of course I would plan to mulch
them during the winter. It would take a lot of planting but I think
it would insure a tremendous yield. I find that the digging and
planting including watering of 1500 plants makes ten hours' work
with elimination of all waste motion."

You will not get as good results as Mr. Hartman's average, unless
you learn as much as he has learned; he has succeeded by
well-directed work in different places and circumstances

The South and West are not the only places in the United States
where a man can live on one acre of ground, by intensive culture and
with irrigation. The Eastern and Middle States can present just as
good, if not better, opportunities, especially where land in small
tracts is available near the large cities.

_The Farmers' Advocate _(Topeka, Kansas) says of lands which ten
years ago were among the much advertised "abandoned farms" of the
eastern states: "All over the eastern states where farming twenty
years ago was pronounced a failure under Western competition there
has sprung. up this intensive cultivation. Violets are grown in one
place and tuberoses by the acre in another. Celery is making one
man's large profit near Williamsburg. Special fruits are cultivated.
Currants are grown by the ton and sold by the pound, yielding a
profit. This is in progress over the entire range of farming."

At Hyde Park, a little village three miles north of Reading, Pa.,
there is a small farm owned by Oliver R. Shearer, who may be said to
be one of the most successful farmers in the United States. This
farm contains 3-1/2 acres, only 2-1/2 of which are cultivated, but
they yield the owner annually from $1200 to $1500. From the profits
of his intensive farming, Mr. Shearer has paid $3800 for his
property, which, besides the land, consists of a modern two-story
brick house, with barn, chicken-yard, and orchard, the whole
surrounded by a neat fence. He has also raised and educated a family
of three children.

There are no secrets, Mr. Shearer says, about his method of farming.
A study of conditions, the application of common-sense methods and
untiring energy, he asserts, will enable others to do what he has
done, but that most men would kill themselves with the work.

In an agricultural exchange a small farmer tells that he makes a
living and saves some money from a ten-acre farm. Before he was
through paying for his land, which cost $100 an acre, building his
house, fences, and outbuildings, he went in debt $1300, having about
the same amount to start with. He is near a good market, and in five
years has paid off the debt, and has been getting ahead ever since.
He raises poultry and small fruits, and says that it is a good
combination, as most of the work with poultry comes in winter, while
he can do nothing out of doors. He maintains that a ten-acre farm
rightly managed will bring a good living, including the comforts and
some of the luxuries of life, and says: "This I have fully
demonstrated, and what I have done others may do."

_Maxwell's Talisman _says:

"E. J. O'Brien of Citronelle, Alabama, received $170 clear from an
acre of cucumbers shipped to the St. Louis market. He was two weeks
late in getting them on the market. He says those two weeks would
have meant nearly double the net returns. He does not consider this
an extraordinary return and hopes to do better next year."

"Professor Thomas Shaw writes of a plot of ordinary ground in
Minnesota comprising the nineteenth part of an acre, which for years
kept a family of six matured persons abundantly supplied with
vegetables all the year, with the exception of potatoes, celery, and
cabbage. In addition, much was given away, more especially of the
early varieties, and in many instances much was thrown away."

"In the market-gardens of Florida we see such crops as 445 to 600
bushels of onions per acre, 400 bushels of tomatoes, 700 bushels of
sweet potatoes; which testify to a high development of culture."

We select from Bailey's "Principles of Vegetable Gardening" the
following general estimates:

_Beets--_Average crop is 300-400 bushels per acre.

_Carrots--_Good crop is 200-300 bushels per acre.

_Cabbage--_8000 heads per acre.

_Potatoes--_The yield of potatoes averages about 75 bushels per
acre, but with forethought and good tillage and some fertilizer the
yield should run from 200 to 300 bushels, and occasionally yields
will much exceed the latter figure.

_Rhubarb--_From 2 to 5 stalks are tied in a bunch for market, and an
acre should produce 3000 dozen bunches.

_Salsify--_Good crop 200-300 bushels per acre.

_Onions--_A good crop of onions is 300-400 bushels to the acre, but
600-800 are secured under the very best conditions.

The price per ton for horseradish varies from ten to fifty dollars,
and from two to four tons should be raised on an acre, the latter
quantity when the ground is deep and rich and when the plants do not
suffer for moisture.

Averages are very misleading and it would be better to pay little
attention to them. They are like the average wealth possessed by a
class of twenty schoolchildren. The schoolmaster who had $20 asked
what was the average wealth of each, if the total wealth of the
class was $20. The brightest boy answered, "One dollar." The
schoolmaster asked Tommy at the foot of the class if he did not
think they would be a prosperous class. He answered, "It depends on
who has the 'twenty.'"

But, all the more, good averages imply some wonderful yields. The
following are actual averages in the United States Twelfth and
Thirteenth Census Report, respectively.

Flowers and plants, $2014 and $1911; nursery products, $170 and
$261; sugar cane, $87 (4 tons per acre) and $5540; small fruits, $81
and $110; hops, $72 (885 lb. per acre) and $175; sweet potatoes, $37
(79 but per acre) and $55; hemp, $34 (794 lb. per acre) and $54;
potatoes, $33 (96 bu. per acre) and $45; sugar beets, $30 (7 tons
per acre) and $54; sorghum cane, $21 (1 ton per acre) and $23;
cotton, $15 (4-10 bale per acre) and $25.70 flaxseed, $9 (9 bu. per
acre) and $14; cereals, $8 and $11.40.

Specialties, however, often do much better. For example, R. B.
Handy, in Farmers' Bulletin No. 60, United States Department of
Agriculture, tells us that a prominent and successful New Jersey
grower says:

"I cannot give the cost in detail of establishing asparagus beds, as
so much would depend upon whether one had to buy the roots, and upon
other matters. Where growers usually grow roots for their own
planting the cost is principally the labor, manure, and the use of
land for two years upon which, however, a half crop can be had.

"The cost of maintaining a bed can only be estimated per acre as
follows:

Manure (applied in the spring) $25.00
Labor, plowing, cultivating, hoeing, etc 20.00
Cutting and bunching 40.00
Fertilizer (applied after cutting) 15.00

Total $100.00

"An asparagus bed well established, say five years after planting,
when well cared for should, for the next ten or fifteen years, yield
from 1800 to 2000 bunches per annum, or at 10 cents per bunch
(factory price) $180 to $200."

"If the rent, labor, etc., for a crop of asparagus is $200 per acre,
and the crop is three tons of green shoots at $100 per ton, on the
farm, the profit is $100 per acre. If we get six tons at $100 per
ton, the profit, less the extra cost of labor and manure, is $400
per acre." ("Food for Plants," by Harris and Myers, page 19.)

Around Bethlehem, Indiana, the farmers raise hundreds of tons of
sunflower seed every year, and the industry pays better than
anything else in the farming line. A good deal of the seed is made
into condition powder for stock, occasionally some is made into
so-called "olive oil" which is said to surpass cotton-seed oil.
Large quantities are used for feeding parrots and poultry, or
consumed by the Russian Hebrews who eat them as we would eat
peanuts.

A careful investigation made in 1898 of the value of certain
productions taken from farms in New York State shows that the
culture of apples is very profitable. From twenty adjoining farms in
one neighborhood in western New York, the report gave an average
annual return of $85 per acre at the orchard, covering a period of
five years. Another report gave an average of $110 annual income per
acre for three years, and these results were obtained where only
ordinary care was given to the orchard. But note this.--

One orchard, where the trees had been well sprayed to protect the
fruit from insect injuries, and the soil well cultivated and
properly fertilized, gave a return in one year of $700 per acre, and
for three years an average income of $400 per acre.

One man bought a farm of 100 acres in Central New York with a
much-neglected orchard upon it of 30 acres, paying $5000 for the
whole. He cultivated the orchard, pruned and sprayed the trees
thoroughly, and in seven months from the time he purchased the farm,
sold the apple crop from it for $6000 cash.

"Peanuts: Culture and Uses," by R. B. Handy in Farmers' Bulletin No.
25 of the United States Department of Agriculture says:

"According to the Census the average yield of peanuts in the United
States was 17.6 bushels per acre, the average in Virginia being
about 20, and in Tennessee 32 bushels per acre. This appears to be a
low average, especially as official and semiofficial figures give 50
to 60 bushels as an average crop, and 100 bushels is not an uncommon
yield. Fair peanut land properly manured and treated to intelligent
rotation of crops should produce in an ordinary season a yield of 50
bushels to the acre and from 1 to 2 tons of excellent hay. (Of
course better land with more liberal treatment and a favorable
season will produce heavier crops, the reverse being true of lands
which have been frequently planted with peanuts without either
manuring or rotation of crops.) Besides the amount of peanuts
gathered, there are always large quantities left in the ground which
have escaped the gathering, and on these the planter turns his herd
of hogs, so that there is no waste of any part of the plant."

Tobacco is a paying crop if the soil is just right. Two thousand
pounds per acre can be raised on favorable sites. Connecticut
tobacco brings, in ordinary times, from twenty to thirty cents a
pound; from four to over six hundred dollars being the possible
return.

Some Connecticut soils raise Sumatra tobacco equal to the imported
crop that sells in this country at fancy prices. The Department of
Agriculture claims that the Cuban type of tobacco can be closely
approximated in Pennsylvania and Ohio. But it must be remembered
that the soil is of paramount importance in tobacco raising. The
Department has prepared soil maps of most of the important tobacco
districts of the United States. If you think your land may be suited
to tobacco, apply there for information. You may make your land
invaluable.

D. L. Hartman, _Rural New Yorker, _gave the following facts and
figures: "During last season the sales from one acre of early
tomatoes amounted to $454, and from a trifle more than two and one
half acres, including the acre of 'earlies,' the remainder
mid-season and late plantings, the total sales amounted to over
$900. From a little less than one acre and a half $555 worth of
strawberries were sold, while the returns from early cabbages during
the last few years have been at the rate of about $300 per acre.
These statements are not made in the spirit of challenge. The
results are gratifying to me, because larger than anticipated; but
much greater values can be and are produced. In fact, the limit of
value that may be grown on an acre of land no one can tell. I have a
small plot of ground containing less than one sixth of an acre,
planted one year with radishes and lettuce, followed by eggplant and
cauliflower, and the next year to radishes alone, followed by
egg-plant, and each year the total sales amounted to over $200, at
the rate of $1200 per acre. Greatly exceeding even this was a
smaller plot, measuring 20 X 65 feet, last year, planted first to
pansies, plants sold when in bloom, followed by radishes, of which
one half proved to be a worthless variety (it lay idle long enough
to have produced another crop of radishes), then half was planted to
late lettuce, the other half being sown for winter cabbage, plants
yielding no cash return. Yet the total sales for the season from
this small plot, less than one thirty-second of an acre, was $86.78
at the rate of the surprising sum of $2780 per acre, and could
easily have been raised to the rate of $4,000, and that without the
use of any glass whatever, Truly the possibilities of the soil are
unknown."

The cooperative features used by Northeastern Long Island intensive
farmers are worthy of imitation. In the community of Riverhead a
club buys at wholesale rates commodities which the farm and
household require. The club does a large business, and has a high
rating in the commercial agencies. In another instance at Riverhead
an association markets the crop of cauliflower, sending cars of such
produce to Cincinnati and Chicago. These are the best forms of
cooperation.

"In the market-gardening sections the banks show prosperity. In the
towns of Riverhead and Southold there are savings banks with
deposits of $4,000,000 each, and five business banks which are doing
a thriving business. In this stretch of thirty miles on eastern Long
Island the farms are mostly free from encumbrance of any kind.

" It should be noted, however, that their towns have the open Sound
with its bays which furnish open ways for transportation and an
unowned field for work." (From circular of the Long Island Guild of
New York City.)






CHAPTER VII

SOME METHODS





We must not put all our time into one crop unless we are rich enough
to do our own insurance; for drought, or damp; or accident,
ill-adapted seed, or general unfavorable conditions may make
failures of one or more crops. But in variety and succession of
crops is safety and profit. In order to succeed, crop must be made
to follow crop, so that the ground is used to its full capacity. To
leave it fallow for even a week is to invite weeds and to lose much
of the advantage of tillage, as well as so much time.

In the North, seeds of many kinds should be sown from the first of
March to the first of August; in the South they should be sown m
every month.

By following the simple time tables for planting you will find work
ready and crops maturing and ready for sale in every month in the
year.

There is an admirable table of the time to plant, given in "How to
Make a Vegetable Garden," though it does embrace some weird
vegetables, explaining, for instance, that pats-choi is used like
chards, and that "Scolymus is sowed like Scorzonera."

One can live while waiting for the crops to come up, for many crops
mature rapidly.

Specialties give employment only during a few months of each year
and bring returns only at periods of the year, but the returns can
be made almost immediate and the work almost continuous.

Long Island and Jersey farmers in marketing their crops sell

Spinach and Radishes in April
Peas, Early Onions, and Lettuce in May
Asparagus and Strawberries in June
Tomatoes, Cucumbers, and Cabbage Seeds in July
Early Potatoes, Peaches, and Beans in August
Onions and Potatoes in September
Celery in October
Cauliflower in November
Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts in December
Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts in January
Brussels Sprouts in February
Brussels Sprouts in March

This order of crops can be varied to suit conditions.

"The old practice of growing vegetables in beds usually entails more
labor and expense than the crop is worth; and it has had the effect
of driving more than one boy from the farm. These beds always need
weeding on Saturdays, holidays, circus days, and the Fourth of July.
Even if the available area is only twenty feet wide, the rows should
run lengthwise and be far enough apart (from one to two feet for
small stuff) to allow of the use of the hand wheelhoes, many of
which are very efficient. If land is available for horse tillage,
none of the rows should be less than thirty inches apart, and for
late growing things, as large cabbage, four feet is better. If the
rows are long, it may be necessary to grow two or three kinds of
vegetables in the same row; in this case it is important that
vegetables requiring the same general treatment and similar length
of season be grown together. For example, a row containing parsnips
and salsify, or parsnips, salsify, and late carrots would afford an
ideal combination; but a row containing parsnips, cabbages, and
lettuce would be a very faulty combination. One part of the area
should be set aside for all similar crops. For example, all root
crops might be grown on one side of the plot, all cabbage crops in
the adjoining space, all tomato and eggplant crops in the center,
all corn and tall things on the opposite side. Perennnial crops, as
asparagus and rhubarb, and gardening structures, as hotbeds and
frames, should be on the border, where they will not interfere with
the plowing and tilling." ("Principles of Vegetable Gardening," page
31.)

Usually where large acreages are worked there is a tendency to
devote a greater portion of tile land to one crop and sometimes a
failure in this crop will mean ruin to the farmer, whereas, where
small areas are used, there is generally a diversity of the
higher-priced crops and a failure in one is not so likely to be
disastrous.

To get the greatest production from the soil two crops can be grown
in the same soil at the same time--one of which will mature much
earlier than the other, thereby giving its place up just about the
period of growth when the second crop would need more room. This is
known as companion cropping.

"In companion cropping there is a main crop and a secondary crop.
Ordinarily the main crop occupies the middle part and later part of
the season. The secondary crop matures early in the season, leaving
the ground free for the main crop. In some cases the same species is
used for both crops, as when late celery is planted between the rows
of early celery.

Following are examples of some companion crops:

Radishes with beets or carrots. The radishes can be sold before the
beets need the room.

Corn with squashes, citron, pumpkin, or beans in hills.
Early onions and cauliflower or cabbage.
Horseradish and early cabbage.
Lettuce with early cabbage."

("Principles of Vegetable Gardening," page 184.)

If fruit trees be planted, vegetables may be grown in rows. As soon
as the early vegetables mature they are removed, and a midsummer
crop planted. These are followed by a fall or winter crop.

Radishes, lettuce, and cabbage grow at the same time and on the area
formerly used for one crop. Early potatoes and early cauliflower are
followed by Brussels sprouts and celery, two crops being as easily
grown as one by intelligent handling. The best beans are grown among
fruit trees.

The principles of "double-cropping" are summarized by Professor
Thomas Shaw, in _The Market Garden._

"Onion sets may be planted early in the season and onion seeds may
then be sown. Between the rows cauliflower may be planted. Later
between the cauliflower, two or three cucumber seeds may be dropped.
The onion sets up around the cauliflower may be taken out first, and
the cauliflowers in turn may be removed in time to let the cucumbers
develop.

"Midway between the rows of onions grown from seeds, we can plant
radishes, lettuce, peppergrass, spinach, or some other early relish,
which will have ample time to grow and to be consumed before harm
can come to the onions from the shade of any one of these crops.
When the onions are well grown, turnips can be sown midway between
their rows."

So we get two crops of onions, besides cauliflowers, cucumbers, and
turnips off the same place. Weeds won't have much chance in soil
treated like that.

"Multum in Parvo Gardening" (Samuel Wood) claims L 620 ($3100)
from one acre by the expenditure of considerable capital in growing
fruit against brick walls--it cost over $3100 to prepare the land,
of which the walls cost $2300. In this system the fruit trees are
pruned and trained till they look like firemen's ladders.

"In the suburbs of Paris, even without such costly things with only
thirty-six yards of frames for seedlings, vegetables are grown in
the open air to the value of L 200 per acre." ("Fields,
Factories and Workshops," page 80.)

"At the present time, for fully 100 miles along the Rhone, and in
the lateral valleys of the Ardeche and the Drome, the country is an
admirable orchard, from which millions worth of fruit is exported,
and the land attains the selling price of from L 325 ($1625) to
L 400 ($2000) the acre. Small plots of land are continually
reclaimed for culture upon every crag." (Same, page 133.)

In California we hear (from George P. Keeney) that while good truck
and fruit lands usually sell for $25 to $350 per acre, the land with
full-bearing fruit or nut trees often sells at $1000, and even up to
$2000 per acre. There is no reason why any intelligent persons
should not make their land increase in the same way.

The London Daily News reports that in one year, which was not a good
season for all crops, on a half acre of land, Mr. Henry Vincent, of
Brighton, England, raised the following products:

2660 cabbages, 70 bushels spinach, 950 cauliflowers, parsley, 1460
lettuces, 660 broccoli, 16 bushels potatoes, 19-1/4 bushels Brussels
sprouts, 106-1/2 gallons peas, 120 gallons artichokes, flowers, 267
vegetable marrows, 2976 carrots, 264 bundles radishes, 14 gallons
French beans, 12 gallons currants' 95-1/2 punnets mustard, 27 pounds
mushrooms, rhubarb, 948 bushels sprout tops, 38 dozen leeks, 1150
plants, 11-1/4 gallons broad beans, 97 bundles sea-kale, 978 bundles
of asparagus-kale, 504 beet roots, 2913 gallons gooseberries, 219
bundles mint, 20 bundles sage, 18 bundles of fennel, thyme, besides
one cartload of stones.

Mr. Vincent explains how he came to go into intensive cultivation:
"A few years ago the doctors said if I did not go out more I could
not live. Very well, just at that time there was an outcry about the
land not paying for cultivation. I could not understand this, for as
a boy at seven years of age I had to go out to farm work, therefore
I never went to school. Anyhow I thought something was very wrong if
the land would not pay; so, to compel myself to go out in the fresh
air, I took an allotment on the Sussex Downs to work in the early
morning before my daily duties began. I might say that I am a
waiter, and have been in my present situation forty years, so you
can understand I could not know much of land or garden work I could
not see my way clear in the few spare hours I get to take more than
half an acre of land to garden early, especially as I started
knowing practically nothing about such work, but I can manage to do
my half acre all alone.

"My garden is situated on the Brighton Race Hill ridge, and twelve
years ago it was but four inches of soil on chalk, but I now have a
foot of soil on the whole of the half acre, and year by year my
profits increase.

"Yes, get the men to stop on the land in this country. We ought not
to have workhouses. Every man could live, and live well, if he could
get the land, and would work it as it should be worked.

"Farmers and landowners grumble because the land does not pay. Now
for the fault. It is quite evident it is not the land, therefore, it
must be the fault of the man. Very well, get the land from these
landed proprietors, by sale preferred, and let it out to men, not by
1000 acres, as no man can farm well a thousand acres in England; let
the farms be greatly reduced, and then the land can be treated as it
should be. Most of us have children, and we all know how we love and
treat them. Treat the land in the same manner, feed it, and keep it
clean, and you will have no cause to complain. The land of old
England is as good as it ever was.

"I have serious thoughts of opening a kind of school for people who
would like to make $500 a year on an acre. It is to be done, and
done easily. I do know that one man alone can manage two acres, and
at the end of this year I shall be able to tell how much more he can
manage alone, so under my system one can gain L 4 a week off two
acres and do all one's self.

"If the land will produce over one hundred pounds per year per acre,
is it not wrong for a man to have, say, 500 or 1000 acres which in
no way can he properly manage; as, in the first place, he cannot
feed such an acreage, let alone keep it clean and gather in his
crops?"

In truth, what an acre may produce depends on time, place, and
circumstances The product of the best acre of land so situated that
its product could be sold at retail in a near-by market, and which
has been cultivated under the best management for a term of years,
would provide a very comfortable living. The product of other acres,
measured by what they produce to the cultivator in living, declines
through various grades down to almost nothing on the acre far from
railroads or difficult of access.

While in quantity and quality the least favored acre could be made
to produce as much as one best situated, yet, almost none of its
production would be available to sell, while the product of the
favorably located acre could be sold as rapidly as grown.






CHAPTER VIII

THE KITCHEN GARDEN





The aim of the kitchen garden is to provide an abundance and variety
of food for the family. As the object of the cultivator is to get
the largest product for his labor, he ought to produce all that he
can consume on the least possible area. Though one may go into
mushrooms or frog raising as a money crop, the kitchen garden is the
first indispensable and should first be given attention.

For a garden choose a piece of land with a southern exposure,
sheltered on the north and west by woods, buildings, hedge, or any
kind of a windbreak. This arrangement will give the earliest garden,
for it gets all the sun there is. By running the rows north and
south, the rays of the sun strike the eastern side of the row in the
morning, and the western side in the afternoon.

The best time to take hold of a piece of land is in the fall,
because then it can be plowed ready for the spring planting. The
alternate freezing and thawing during the winter breaks up the sod
and the stiff lumps thrown up by the plow, so rendering the soil
pliable and easily worked. This is especially true of land that has
been reclaimed from the forest, or which has not been farmed for
many years.

Before the plowing is done, the land for the garden should be
manured at the rate of twenty-five large wagon loads to the acre. If
you can get a suitable plot that has been in red clover, alfalfa,
soy beans, or cowpeas for a number of years, so much the better.
These plants have on their roots nitrogen-fixing bacteria, which
draw nitrogen from the air. Nitrogen is the great meat-maker and
forces a prolonged and rapid growth of all vegetables.

After manuring and plowing, harrow repeatedly with a disk or cutaway
harrow until the soil is as fine as dust. Then you have a seed bed
which will give the fine roots a chance to grow as soon as the seeds
sprout. Too much stress cannot be laid upon the importance of
thoroughly working the soil at this time. Every stone, weed, or clod
that is left in the soil destroys to that extent the source from
which the plants can get their food.

A quarter-acre garden, which is big enough to supply the whole
family with a succession of vegetables for summer and fall, as well
as some potatoes and turnips for winter, will take a diligent
workman about four days to dig over and three days to plant. The
four days' work of digging will need to be done only once. The time
spent upon planting succession crops will depend upon the amount of
the garden reserved for rotation. The part kept for lettuce,
radishes, spinach, beets, Swiss chard, peas, string and wax beans
may be digged over in a favorable season for three successive
plantings, while the part devoted to early potatoes would need to be
digged only twice--once when the planting is done, and again when
crop is gathered and the ground be prepared for a crop of late
cabbage or turnips. A planting table for vegetables, which is
complete and comprehensive, is distributed free by the National
Emergency Food Garden Commission at Washington, D.C.

It is far more important to plant seeds at the proper depth than
that they should be planted thinly or thickly, for if they are
planted too thin, it makes a sort of advantage by giving the
individual plants ample room to develop to large size; and if
planted too thick, the evil can easily be remedied by thinning or
transplanting.

After the seeds come up, the size of almost all the vegetables can
be increased by transplanting, in favorable soil, which gives each
plant room for complete development.

It is too expensive to risk part of the land being unused or half
used on account of seeds dying, or to put in so many seeds in order
to insure growth that they will crowd one another. Where possible,
therefore, seeds should be sprouted and planted, not "sown."

Lima beans planted on edge with eye down will come up much sooner
than if dropped in carelessly so they have to turn themselves over.
In a small garden the time saved by such planting will repay the
extra trouble.

In some things like onions and radishes, however, it is better to
sow them thick, and then thin them out, so as to get the effect of
transplanting without so much labor. In others, like lettuce and all
the salad plants, transplanting gives new life and energy and
develops the individual plants in a way that will astonish those not
familiar with what free development means.

It is wise to plant corn after lettuce and radishes are gathered,
and more lettuce, corn, or salad, after the beans are picked. Then
late crops, cabbage, cauliflower or spinach, can go where early corn
grew, so that the small patch may earn your living and pay big
dividends.

Do not let two vegetables of the same botanical family follow each
other. For instance, lima beans should not follow green beans or
peas, as all the family draw about the same elements from the soil,
and are likely to have the same insects and diseases.

Do not plant cucumbers, squash, or pumpkins too near each other, as
they will often inter-impregnate and produce uneatable hybrids.

Decide what you are going to do with your crop before you plant it,
whether to sell it, at wholesale or at retail, to eat it, or to feed
it to stock.

C. E. Hunn, in the Garden Magazine, gives the following arrangement:
"For the beginner who wants to get fresh vegetables and fruits from
May until midwinter, a space 100 X 200 feet is enough.

"1. Plant in rows, not beds, and avoid the backache.

"2. Plant vegetables that mature at the same time near one another.

"3. Plant vegetables of the same height near together--tall ones
back.

"4. Run the rows the short way, for convenience in cultivation and
because one hundred feet of anything is enough.

"5. Put the permanent vegetables (asparagus, rhubarb, sweet herbs)
at one side, so that the rest will be easy to plow.

"6. Practice rotation. Do not put vines where they were last. Put
corn in a different place. The other important groups for rotation
are root crops (including potatoes and onions); cabbage tribe, peas
and beans, tomatoes, eggplant and pepper, salad plants.

"7. Don't grow potatoes in a small garden. They aren't worth the
bother.

"By training on trellis or wire, the smaller fruit plantings can be
made much closer.

"If fruits are wanted in the garden, plant a row of apple trees
along the northern border, plums and pears on the western sides,
cherries and peaches on the eastern side. Next the apple trees run a
grape trellis; and then in succession east and west, run a row of
blackberries, raspberries, gooseberries, and currants. These rows,
with the apple trees, form a windbreak, and besides adding to the
income, protect the vegetables. Next to the bush fruits, between
them and the ends of the vegetable rows, put rhubarb, asparagus, and
strawberries."

Insect pests must be watched for and their destructive work checked.
Ashes, slaked lime, or any kind of dust or powder destroy most
insects which prey on the leaves of plants. The reason for this is
that the dust closes the pores through which the insects breathe. It
should therefore be applied when the leaves are dry.

Cutworms can be destroyed by winter plowing. Rotation of vegetables
will reduce the damage from insects, because each family has its
peculiar bugs. By constant change to new soil, the pests have no
opportunity to get a foothold.

With bugs, as with boys, only those who are interested in them and
therefore understand them can manage them. It is fun to study the
insects--and it pays.

Here's another use of "land." Maybe a pool in your garden or a dam
in a little brook in it may help out your home garden bank account.
Of course a pond a few square yards in extent will give even better
returns if you can sell its produce at retail near by.

W. B. Shaw, a seventy-year-old veteran who lost his right arm during
the Civil War, lives in Kenilworth, D. C., and clears $1500 an acre
every year out of mud puddles--if mud puddles can be measured by the
acre.

Mr. Shaw is a pond lily farmer, and despite his lack of his good
right arm, he poles his boat about his mud puddles and gathers in
the pond lilies. His is not exactly a "dry farm" and neither wet nor
cloudy weather bothers him. Furthermore, the demand for his pond
lilies in Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia, and even New York,
and Chicago, is greater than he can supply.

Mr. Shaw secured this swamp for almost nothing, as it was considered
worthless. He divided it into fifteen pools with little dams between
them, and rollers on the dams to enable him to drag his boat from
one to the other. From May to late in September he is busy every
morning gathering lilies. His average is about 500 a morning, which
he ships in little galvanized iron tanks with wet moss.

Many school children know how to get results on a little land. Mr.
Mahoney, Superintendent of the Fairview Garden School, Yonkers, New
York, estimates that the total value of produce grown on the 250
gardens, composing the school plot, in all about one and one quarter
acres of land, was $1308, or at the rate of more than a thousand
dollars per acre. When it is taken into consideration that all the
labor was done by boys ranging in age from eight to twelve years,
this result is truly astonishing.

What may not adult skilled labor produce when applied freely to the
land.






CHAPTER IX

TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT--SPECIALIZED CROPS





To subdue the land with an ax, a plow and a spade is possible;
millions of acres have been so subdued. This method, however, is the
most expensive of all, as in our times, markets won't wait, and the
man who wants to get on must produce as quickly as possible. To do
so, he must have the best tools. They will pay for themselves many
times over in a single year. For the farm, the following list, in
addition to a well-stocked tool chest (hammer, saw, plane, ax, etc.)
covers the indispensible:

1 team horses (these may be hired) $200.00
1 walking plow 10.00
1 disk or cutaway harrow 25.00
1 farm wagon 50.00
1 cultivator (two horse) 25.00
1 one-horse cultivator 8.00
Shovels, pick, mattock or grubbing hoe 10.00
Work harness for two horses 25.00

TOTAL $353.00

These things you must have to get the land in proper shape for seeds
or plants; but special crops require special tools. A scythe is good
to keep weeds away from fences. A sickle is handy to keep down
grass. To reduce living expenses, a cow for $60, and fifty hens at
fifty cents each, say $25, will supply a large family with milk and
eggs. Most people make the mistake of buying too many things and
these poorly selected. It is better to have too few tools than too
many, for tools are often dropped where last used, and so are lost.
Then if money is scarce, you may not be able to make a shelter for
your machines and tools, and they will rust through the winter. Many
farmers, through neglect, have to replace their tool equipment every
four or five years, but with attention and care, the original
equipment, even to the team, ought still to be in use twenty years
after their purchase. I know many instances where this is true. The
above equipment is the minimum for beginning work. The character of
additions to it will depend much upon the crops which you select as
the money getters.

For general market gardening and the kitchen garden too, the
following tool list, together with the above, will include
everything absolutely necessary.

Wheel hoe $6.00
Spade and fork, each $1.00 2.00
Push hoe .65
Watering can .60
Rake and common hoe 1.00
Bulb sprayer .25
Trowel .10

TOTAL $10.60

The wheel hoe is a great saver--of backache, especially to the
beginner; as Warner says, "at the best you will conclude that for
gardening purposes a cast-iron back with a hinge in it is preferable
to the ones now in use."

The dibble, an old tool handle, or a bit of broomstick sharpened,
and garden lines to get the rows straight, labels, tomato supports,
plant protectors and stakes earl all be homemade out of old
material. The full outfit would include the following:

Roller $8.00
Wheel-hoe with seeder 8.50
Sprayer 3.75
Wheelbarrow 4.00
Crowbar 1.50
Weeder .35

For such crops as admit of horse cultivation a horse hoe will save a
great deal of time.

The weeder is a cousin to the push hoe and has a zigzag blade for
cutting off young weeds which are just starting above ground. It is
pushed backward and forward and cuts both ways. It is very good for
soft ground; on a harder patch use the push hoe.

A market garden is really a big kitchen garden, from which the
cultivator supplies not only his own family, but his neighbors, the
public. To run a successful market garden for profit, land suitably
situated near transportation and markets, a large supply of stable
manure, hotbeds for raising plants, crates for shipping, wagons for
delivering, and a complete outfit of tools are necessary. You must
raise all sorts of vegetables and salad plants in quantities
sufficiently large to justify you in giving your whole time to the
work. An acre devoted to general market gardening could be attended
to by two men with some extra help for marketing.

To get a place fully established on new, rich land requires two or
three years. On worn-out land it would take longer to build it up to
the high fertility needed for maximum production. Crops like
asparagus and rhubarb take two years to establish on a remunerative
basis. If bush fruits are raised, three years are required to get
maximum results. So in starting, land should be bought outright or
leased for ten years.

In market gardening for profit, one acre might be devoted to
vegetables, one acre to small fruits; strawberries, raspberries,
blackberries, currants, gooseberries, etc. and one acre kept for
buildings, poultry, etc. An energetic man could clear one thousand
dollars a year besides his living, after he got a start, and be
absolutely independent; that is, unless some predatory railroad
corporation could confiscate his profits before his product reached
the market.

Some persons are just naturally so successful with plants that if
they stuck an umbrella in the ground we should expect to see it
blossom out into parasols--but they don't know why it does, and they
can't teach any one else how to do it.

Any fool can sneer at "book farming" or at anything else, but you
can hardly succeed without the best books by practical men. Do not
let some experienced ignoramus talk you out of experimenting under
their guidance. You will learn little without experience, and unless
you have the grower's instinct, you will learn less without books.

Don't be hypnotized by long experience or by success. Hardly anybody
knows his own business. You must have noticed that few of the people
you buy of or sell to, know any more of their goods than you do.

It is just the same with trades. Hardly a barber knows that he
should not shave you against the grain of the skin. Even the cat
won't stand being rubbed up the wrong way; but the barber never
thought of that.

We lawyers and the doctors are supposed to be thorough in our own
field--I said lately to one of the ablest men at the New York Bar,
"About one lawyer in a hundred knows his business." He said, "That
is a gross overestimate." Shortly after I talked with three Judges,
one of the City Court, one of the Supreme Court, and one of the
United States Circuit, and they each agreed that my friend's remark
was about true, and that in most cases litigants would do as well
without lawyers as with them.

If that is true, what chance is there that an uneducated man who has
"raised garden sass ever since he was a boy, and seen his father do
it before him," can teach you correctly?

Men learn very slowly by experience, because no two experiences are
exactly alike, unless they perceive and apply the principles under
the experience.

An intelligent man accustomed to investigation can learn more about
a specialty in a week's study than an untrained practitioner can
believe in a year.

What the untrained teacher can tell us is of little account; what he
shows us is another matter.

Therefore get help who know that they don't know anything about a
garden and who consequently will do with a will exactly what you
tell them to do; such labor is cheap--why should you pay extravagant
prices for skill to a man who has succeeded so poorly that he can
only earn day's wages? You can get much better knowledge at less
cost from a book. Study and put your knowledge into practice
yourself, where you see promise of a profit.

Almost every crop can be made a specialty. In proportion as special
crops are profitable when conditions are right, so are they sources
of loss when things go wrong. If, after your first season in the
country, some special crop takes your fancy, give extra space and
time to it the second year and see if you are successful in handling
an eighth or a quarter acre. If so, you may extend your operations
as rapidly as purse and market permit.

Before concentrating upon any crop as the chief source of income, a
careful study must be made of all the conditions surrounding its
production; a crop is not produced in the broad meaning of that term
until it is actually in the hands of the consumer.

Potatoes, for instance, are grown by the hundred acres in sections
adapted to their growth, and special machinery costing hundreds of
dollars is used in planting, cultivating, and harvesting the crop.
The good shipping and keeping qualities of the potato enable it to
be raised far from markets and so brings into competition cheap land
worked in large areas, with large capital. In spite of this,
however, the small cultivator can usually make money if he can sell
his potatoes directly to the consumer.

If your land is so situated that you can put your individuality into
the crop and can control all the circumstances, preparation of land,
planting, cultivation, harvesting, and marketing, your chances of
success are immeasurably increased. As soon as any important part
must be trusted to some one beyond your control, danger arises.
Assiduous care in planting, cultivating, and packing will avail
nothing if the product falls into the hands of transportation
companies or commission merchants indifferent as to what becomes of
it. It is therefore better to be quite independent, sell your own
crop, and have the whole operation in your own hands from the very
beginning.

Generally speaking, seed growing for the market is a highly
developed special business which is usually carried on by companies
operating with large capital, able to employ the best experts, and
to avail themselves of all the advantages of scientific methods in
culture, regardless of expense. So uncertain is the business, that
even with all these facilities, they rarely guarantee seeds. It is
obvious that the amateur has little chance of succeeding in such a
difficult business. Nevertheless, he will be able after a few
seasons of increasing experience to gather seeds from selected
plants and so furnish his own supply. It must be borne in mind,
however, that plants can be improved by cross breeding and that by
keeping a variety too long on the same ground its quality
deteriorates, and the plant tends to revert to the type natural to
it before domestication.

When land is cropped every season, the nitrogen, potash, and
phosphorus removed from the soil must be replaced in some form,
otherwise you have diminishing returns, while the expense for labor
is the same. In farming small areas for specialties you cannot
easily invoke the principle of rotation by enriching the land with
legumes, to be plowed under while green, the bacteria on the roots
of which gather nitrogen from the air, but you must get stable
manure or buy chemical fertilizers to maintain the fertility.

Special crops divide themselves naturally into two classes: those
raised for immediate shipment to market, and those to be hauled to
canneries. The first type are generally prepared in a more expensive
way, and need more care and attention. Each class requires its own
special forms of packing to conform to market peculiarities fixed by
the taste of consumers.

For the cultivation of all specialties, many items of preparation
are identical. Land must be well drained, it must contain a
sufficient amount of humus, or decaying vegetable matter, to make it
loose and porous; it must be free from sticks and stones or any
foreign matter likely to impede cultivation or obstruct growth. The
proper formation of a seed bed is a prime prerequisite to successful
cropping. After the land is manured and plowed it should be gone
over in all directions with a disk and smoothing harrow, until it is
of a dustlike fineness.

In thorough cultivation before the crop is planted, lies the secret
of many a success, and in its neglect the cause of many failures.
Intelligent handling of crops is in a large measure knowledge of the
influence of wind and rain, sunshine and darkness, on the particular
nature of the plant Delicate plants, for example, ought to be grown
where buildings or forests break the force of prevailing winds.
Sheltered valleys in irrigated sections have proved the best for
intensive cultivation. For thousands of years in China and Japan the
conditions of successful intensive cultivation have been well
understood, and to-day the most efficient gardeners are the Chinese.
In some parts of Mexico, for the same reasons, intensive cultivation
has reached a high development. In our own West we are catching up
on vegetables and fruits.






CHAPTER X

THE ADVANTAGES FROM CAPITAL





We have seen what a worker with very little money can do and how he
can succeed. A small capital, however, can be used to increase the
returns to as great advantage on a small farm as large capital can
be used on a large farm and with much less risk.

Stable manure is still the favorite article with the masses of
gardeners. One ton of ordinary stable manure contains about 1275
pounds of organic matter, carrying eight pounds of nitrogen, ten
pounds of potash, and four pounds of phosphoric acid.

When thoroughly rotted, the manure acquires a still larger
percentage of plant food; it is more valuable, not only for that
reason, but also on account of its immediate availability. Further,
the mechanical effect of this manure in opening and loosening the
soil, allowing air and warmth to enter more freely, adds greatly to
its value.

It is easily gotten and often goes wholly or in part to waste. On
the outskirts of some towns may be seen a collection of manure piles
that have been hauled out and dumped in waste places. The plant food
in each ton of this manure is worth at least two dollars--that is
the least Eastern farmers pay for similar material, and they make
money doing it. Yet almost every liveryman has to pay some one for
hauling the manure away. This is simply because farmers living near
these towns are missing a chance to secure something for
nothing--because, perhaps, the profit is not directly in sight. But
from most soils there is a handsome profit possible from a very
small application of stable manure.

While writing this, I saw a man in New Rochelle, N. Y.; dumping a
load of street sweepings into a hole in a vacant lot. It would have
been less wasteful to have dumped a bushel of potatoes into the
hole.

Commercial fertilizers are coming more and more in use by market
gardeners, and with reason. If we examine a good fertilizer,
analyzing five per cent available nitrogen, six per cent phosphoric
acid, and 8 per cent potash, we shall find that one ton of it
contains, besides less valuable ingredients: 100 lb. nitrogen, 120
lb. phosphoric acid, 160 lb. potash.

Such fertilizers probably retail at forty to sixty dollars per ton,
and are fully worth it. All this plant food, and perhaps one half
more, can be drawn in a single load, while it will take ten such
loads of stable manure to supply the same amount of plant food.

There is no reason to be afraid of too much fertilizer, provided it
is evenly distributed and thoroughly mixed through properly prepared
soil. Stinginess in this item is poor economy.

Nitrogen is the most essential food for plant growth. It is an
important element of plant food in manure. In ordinary manure most
of the value is due to the nitrogen, although phosphoric acid and
potash are also present. It is found in the most available form in
nitrate of soda. Nitrate of soda will benefit all crops, but it does
not follow that it will pay to use it on all crops. Its cost makes
it unprofitable to use on cheap crops; but on those that yield a
large return nitrate of soda is a very profitable investment.

"It is shown in the experiments conducted with nitrate of soda on
different crops that in the case of grain and forage crops, which
utilized the nitrate quite as completely as the market garden crops,
the increased value of crops due to nitrate does not in any case
exceed $14 per acre, or a money return at the rate of $8.50 per 100
pounds of nitrate used, while in the case of the market-garden crops
the value of the increased yield reaches, in the case of one crop,
the high figure of over $263 per acre, or at the rate of about $66
per 100 pounds of nitrate." (New Jersey Agricultural Experiment
Stations, page 8, No. 172.)

Professor Voorhees, of the same station, experimented with tomatoes,
with these results:

Manure and Fertilizer Used Cost Per Acre Value of Crop

No manure $271.88
30 tons barnyard manure $30.00 291.75
8 tons manure and 400 lb. fertilizer 15.00 317.63
160 pounds nitrate of soda alone 4.00 361.13

Such common crops as tomatoes, cabbage, turnips, beets, etc., in
order to be highly profitable, must be grown and harvested early;
any one can grow them in their regular season; their growth must be
promoted or forced as much as possible, at the time when the natural
agencies are not active in the change of soil nitrogen into
available forms, and the plants must, therefore, be supplied
artificially with the active forms of nitrogen, if a rapid and
continuous growth is to be maintained.

It is quite possible to have a return of $50 per acre from the use
of $5 worth of nitrate of soda on crops of high value, as, for
example, early tomatoes, beets, cabbage, etc. This is an
extraordinary return for the money and labor invested; still, if the
increased value of the crop were but $10, or even $8, it would be a
profitable investment, since no more land and but little additional
capital was required in order to obtain the extra $5 or $8 per acre.

The results of all the experiments conducted in different parts of
the country and in different seasons, show an average gain in yield
of early tomatoes of about fifty per cent, with an average increased
value of crop of about $100 per acre. The rest of the report shows
similar results with other crops. (New Jersey Agricultural
Experiment Station, Bulletin 172.)

Joseph Harris says, "Some years ego we used nitrate of soda
cautiously as a top dressing on the celery plants. The effect was
astonishing. The next year, having more confidence, we spread the
nitrate at the time we sowed the seed, and again after the plant
came up, and twice afterward during a rain.

"Instead of finding it difficult to get the plants early enough for
the celery growers who set them out, they were ready three weeks
before tile usual time of transplanting.

"At the four applications, we probably used 1600 lb. of nitrate of
soda per acre, and this would probably furnish more nitric acid to
the plants than they could get from five hundred tons of manure per
acre, provided it had been possible to have worked such a quantity
into the soil. Never were finer plants grown. As compared with the
increased value of the plants, the cost of the nitrate is not worth
taking into consideration."

As a means of fertilization without the use of artificial
fertilizer, soil inoculation has come. It has grown out of the
discovery of the dependence of leguminous plants on bacteria which
live on their roots. The discovery is one of the most important of
those made in modern agriculture.

It has received its greatest impetus in America, under the
experiments of Professor Moore of the United States Agricultural
Department.

The Department supplied free to farmers the bacteria for
inoculation. Now they supply it only for experimental purposes. A
laboratory has been fitted up for the work. The method is to
propagate bacteria for each of the various leguminous plants such as
clover, alfalfa, soy beans, cow peas, tares, and velvet beans. All
of these plants are of incalculable value in different sections of
the country as forage for farm animals. In the West, alfalfa is the
main reliance for stockraisers. The farmers of the East are trying
to establish it, but meet with difficulty chiefly for want of the
special bacteria which should be found on the roots.

The function of these bacteria is to gather the nitrogen of the air
and supply it as plant food. Without the bacteria the plant can get
only the nitrogen which is supplied from the soil in fertilizers.
With the aid of the bacteria the growing plant can derive the
greater part of its food from the air.

Here is one of the results of the use of inoculated seed as reported
by the United States Agricultural Bulletin No. 214.

G. L. Thomas, experimenting with field peas on his farm near Auburn,
Me., made a special test with fertilized and unfertilized strips,
and stated that "inoculated seed did as much without fertilizers of
any kind, as uninoculated seed supplied with fertilizer (phosphate)
at the rate of 800 pounds and a ton of barnyard manure per acre."

This seems to be only in its infancy. The Department warns us that
nitrogen inoculation is useless where the soil already has enough
nitrogen and where other plant foods are absent.

The experiments are most important, and we are probably on the eve
of as great advances in agriculture as in electricity, but the human
race has a great love for "inoculation," and indeed for all
unnatural processes.

You remember the story of the wonderful coon that Chandler Harris
tells? No? They were constantly seeing this enormous coon, but
always just as they almost got their hands on him, he disappeared.
One night the boys came running in to say that the wonderful coon
was up in a persimmon tree in the middle of a ten-acre lot; so they
got the dogs and the lanterns and guns and ran out, and sure enough
they saw the wonderful big coon up in a fork of the tree. It was a
bright moonlight night, but to make doubly sure they cut down the
tree and the dogs ran in--the coon wasn't there.

"Well, but, Uncle Remus," said the little boy, "I thought you said
you saw the coon there."

" So we did, Honey," said the old man, "so we did; but it's very
easy to see what ain't there when you're looking for it."

Another method of increasing fertility at increased expense deserves
notice. The vacant public lands are for the most part desert-like,
and their utilization can come about only through irrigation.

This land can be made to produce the finest crops in the world; and
the tremendous volumes of water that flow from the mountains to the
sea, once harnessed and piped or ditched to this land, will
transform it into beautiful gardens and farms.

With the work being done by the United States Government, and that
of the various states, we may look forward in the not distant future
to this land being made habitable to man.

It is well known that with the dry, even climate and with an
abundance of water applied as vegetation needs, this now arid waste
is far more productive than the Eastern states, where the crops are
at the mercy of the elements, sometimes having too much moisture and
at other times not having enough.

"Irrigation offers control of conditions such as is found nowhere
except in greenhouse culture. The farmer in the humid country cannot
control the amount of starch in potatoes, sugar in beets, protein in
corn, gluten in wheat, except by planting varieties which are
especially adapted to the production of the desired quality. The
irrigation farmer, on the other hand, can produce this or that
desirable quality by the control of the moisture supply to the
plant. He can hasten or retard maturity of the plant, produce early
truck or late truck on the same soil, grow wheat or grow rice as he
deems advisable."

"On the irrigated fields of the Vosges, Vaucluse, etc., in France,
six tons of dry hay becomes the rule, even upon ungrateful soil; and
this means considerably more than the annual food of one milch cow
(which can be taken as a little less than five tons) grown on each
acre."

"The irrigated meadows round Milan are another well known example.
Nearly 22,000 acres are irrigated there with water derived from the
sewers of the city, and they yield crops of from eight to ten tons
of hay as a rule; occasionally some separate meadows will yield the
fabulous amount--fabulous to-day but no longer fabulous
to-morrow--of eighteen tons of hay per acre; that is, the food of
nearly four cows to the acre, and nine times the yield of good
meadows in this country." ("Fields, Factories, and Workshops," pages
116-117.)

" If irrigation pays "--and no one now questions that--"the whole
Western country of rich soil, which asks but a drink now and then,
will be turned into a Garden of Eden." _(Maxwell's Talisman.)_

Agriculture may be revolutionized with the advent of irrigation.

A new method of disposing of sewage and at the same time irrigating
the soil, has come into use recently, and will be found valuable to
those who are situated so that they can make use of it.

The sewage from buildings is drained into a large tank where the
heavier matter can settle to the bottom. When the water rises nearly
to the top of the tank it is siphoned into another tank, and from
there it is piped about the field.

The piping is very simple--ordinary drain tile conveys the water.
Beginning at the highest point of the field to be irrigated, a
six-inch (or larger) line of tile should be laid along the highest
ground with a fall of not over one inch to each ten feet. From this
main trunk should be branch lines of "laterals," laid from eight to
twelve feet apart, as they would be laid for draining a field. These
branch lines may be laid at an angle to the main trunk as may be
most convenient; all the joints must be covered so as to keep out
the flirt. The whole system should be laid deep enough in the ground
to be secure from frost; but to be most effective it should not be
over fourteen to sixteen inches below the surface, hence
sub-irrigation cannot be used very successfully in the Northern
states. In a sandy loam soil with a clay subsoil it works best at
sixteen to twenty-four inches.

This is substantially Colonel Waring's method of sewage disposal. To
get the best use of it for plants, the water should be assembled and
kept in the sun for ten to twelve days, then turned into the pipes
until the ground is well soaked, and then shut off and not allowed
in the pipes again for ten to fifteen days, according to the weather
and condition of moisture in the soil. The crop should be cultivated
between each watering.

However, as Bailey says, "Evidently in all regions in which crops
will yield abundantly without irrigation, as in the East, the main
reliance is to be placed on good tillage."

"Most vegetable gardeners in the East do not find it profitable to
irrigate. Now and then a man who has push and the ability to handle
a fine crop to advantage, finds it a very profitable undertaking."
("Principles of Vegetable Gardening," page 174.) Bailey, however,
was not thinking of "overhead irrigation."

The late J. M. Smith, Green Bay, Wisconsin, was one of the expert
market gardeners of his region. "The longer I live," wrote Mr.
Smith, then in the midst of a serious drought, "the more firmly am I
convinced that plenty of manure and then the most complete system of
cultivation make an almost complete protection against ordinary
droughts." (Same, page 330.)

If the soil is cultivated carefully and intensively, it will hold
water within itself and carry a storage reservoir underneath the
growing crop. Finely pulverizing and packing the seed bed, makes it
retain the greatest possible percentage of the moisture that falls,
just as a tumbler full of fine sponge or of birdshot will retain
many times the amount of water that a tumbler full of buckshot will.
The atmosphere quickly drinks up the moisture from the soil unless
we Prevent it. This we do by means of a soil "blanket," called a
"mulch" This finely pulverized surface largely prevents the
moisture below from evaporating, and at the same time keeps the
surface in such condition that it readily absorbs the dew and the
showers. Water moves in the soil as it does in a lamp wick, by
capillary attraction; the more deeply and densely the soil is
saturated with moisture, the more easily the water moves upward,
just as oil "climbs up" a wet wick faster than it does a dry one.
One can illustrate the effect of this fine soil "mulch" in
preventing evaporation by placing some powdered sugar on a lump of
loaf sugar and putting the lump sugar in water. The powdered sugar
will remain dry even when the lump has become so thoroughly
saturated that it crumbles to pieces.

"We have no useless American acres," said Secretary Wilson. "We
shall make them all productive. We have agricultural explorers in
every far corner of the world; and they are finding crops which have
become so acclimated to dry conditions, similar to our own West,
that we shall in time have plants thriving upon our so-called arid
lands. We shall cover this arid area with plants of various sorts
which will yield hundreds of millions of tons of additional forage
and grains for Western flocks and herds. Our farmers will grow these
upon land now considered practically worthless."

In this way it has been estimated that in the neighborhood of one
hundred million acres of the American desert can be reclaimed to the
most intensive agriculture. (See a study of the possible additions
to available land in Prof. W. S. Thompson's "Population, a Study of
Malthusianism": Col. U, 1915.) Frederick V. Coville, the chief
botanist of the Department of Agriculture, does not hesitate to say
that in the strictly arid regions there are many millions of acres,
now considered worthless for agriculture, which are as certain to be
settled in small farms as were the lands of Illinois.

Land that was thought to be absolute desert has been made to yield
heavy crops of grain and forage by this method without irrigation.

Macaroni wheat will grow with ten inches of rainfall, and yield
fifteen bushels to the acre. This however is less than the average
wheat yield in the United States.

Much can be done by dry farming; that is, by plowing the soil very
deep and cultivating six or eight times a season, thus retaining all
the moisture for the crops and reducing evaporation to a minimum.

There are thousands of acres in different sections of Montana that
grow good crops without irrigation. In Fergus County, for instance,
the wonderful yield of 45 bushels of wheat per acre is grown without
irrigation. Heavy crops of grain and vegetables are grown in the
vicinity of Great Falls by the dry farming system.

The money and time spent in spraying is also well invested. The New
York Agricultural Experiment Station began a ten-year experiment in
potato-spraying to determine how much the yield can be increased by
spraying with Pyrox or with Bordeaux mixture.

In 1904 the gain due to spraying was larger than ever before. Five
sprayings with Bordeaux increased the yield 233 bushels per acre,
while three sprayings increased it 191 bushels. The gain was due
chiefly to the prolongation of growth through the prevention of late
blight. The sprayed potatoes contained one ninth more starch and
were of better quality.

The average increase of profit per acre from spraying potatoes was
figured to be about $22 on each acre. The result was arrived at from
experiment, two thirds of which was by independent farmers.
(Particulars will be found In Bulletin No. 264, issued by the
Department.)

In fourteen farmers' business experiments, including 18 acres of
potatoes, the average gain due to spraying was 62-1/2 bushels per
acre, the average total cost of spraying 93 cents per acre; and the
average net profit, based on the market price of potatoes at digging
time, $24.86 per acre.

"One class of gardeners," Burnet Landreth explains, "may be termed
experimental farmers, men tired of the humdrum rotation of farm
processes and small profits, men looking for a paying
diversification of their agricultural interests. Their expenses for
appliances are not great, as they have already on hand the usual
stock of farm tools, requiring only one or two seed drills, a small
addition to their cultivating implements, and a few tons of
fertilizers. Their laborers and teams are always on hand for the
working of moderate areas. In addition to the usual expense of the
farm, they would not need to have a cash capital of beyond 20 to 25
dollars per acre for the area in truck."

"Other men, purchasing or renting land, especially for market
gardening, taking only improved land of suitable aspect, soil, and
situation, and counting in cost of building, appliances, and labor,
would require a capital of $80 to $100 per acre. For example, a
beginner in market gardening in South Jersey, on a five-acre patch,
would need $500 to set up the business, and run it until his
shipments began to return him money. With the purpose of securing
information on this interesting point, the writer asked for
estimates from market gardeners in different localities, and the
result has been that from Florida the reports of the necessary
capital per acre, in land or its rental (not of labor), fertilizers,
tools, implements, seed and all the appliances, average $95, from
Texas $45, from Illinois $70, from the Norfolk district of Virginia
the reports vary from $75 to $125, according to location, and from
Long Island, New York, the average of estimates at the east end is
$75, and at the west end $150."

I have before me now one of the roseate advertisements, which we so
often see in the newspapers, telling how fortunes can be made by
investing a few dollars in a tropical plantation in Mexico.

It gives what are supposed to be startling yields per acre, and yet
the returns, which must necessarily be taken with considerable
allowance, are only from $580 to $1087 per acre on various
plantations.

There are market gardeners and nurserymen near New York City who are
making their acres produce better returns than this. It is not
necessary to go off into the tropical wilderness seeking a fortune
which is usually a gold brick that some fellow is trying to sell
you, when as good results can be secured right at home.

Market gardeners in and near Philadelphia pay $25 to $50 an acre and
upwards rent for land, and work from five to forty acres. This is as
much as similar land in many parts of the country could be bought
for. But it is not a high rent when they are right at the
market--one man makes the round trip in two and one half
hours--manure costs them nothing--for years they have been using the
excavations from the old style privy wells, which has been hauled to
their farm and deposited where they wished it, free. They have
modern facilities, such as trolley and telephone, and are as much
city men as any clerk in an office. They clear far higher profits
from an acre than the average farmer, raising never less than two,
and often three crops in a season. They employ several men to the
acre, and at certain times many more, working the men in gangs. Only
the difficulty of getting good help at their prices prevents them
from using twice the number.

However, the possibilities of putting capital into land at a profit
are still infinite.

What chiefly attracts the gardener to the great cities is stable
manure; this is not wanted so much for increasing the richness of
the soil--one ninth part of the manure used by the French gardeners
would do for that purpose--but for keeping the soil at a certain
temperature. Early vegetables pay best, and in order to obtain early
produce, not only the air, but the soil as well, must be warmed;
that is done by putting great quantities of properly mixed manure
into the soil; its fermentation heats it. But with the present
development of industrial skill, heating the soil could be done more
economically and more easily by hot-water pipes. Consequently, the
French gardeners begin more and more to make use of portable pipes,
or thermosiphons, provisionally established in the cool frames.

Competition that stands in with the railroads can be met only by
being near the market or having water transportation. Indeed, the
erect of water transportation in getting manure, and in delivering
the produce from the railroads, appears in the early history of
trucking. The railroads often crush out boat competition by
absorbing docks and standing in with the commission men. This could
be met by such cooperative selling agencies as the flower growers
already have.

"One of the earliest centers for the development of truck farming in
its present sense was along the shores of Chesapeake Bay, where fast
sailing oyster boats were employed for sending the produce to the
neighboring markets of Baltimore and Philadelphia. In a similar way
the gardeners about New York early began pushing out along Long
Island, using the waters of the Sound for transporting their
produce. The trucking region on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan
is another sample of the effect of convenient water transportation
in causing an early development of this industry. The building of
the Illinois Central railroad opened up a region in southern
Illinois that was supposed to be particularly adapted to fruit
growing." (" Development of the Trucking Interests," by F. S. Earle,
page 439.)

If one goes into the trucking business on so large a scale as to be
able to make deals with the railroads, such as The Standard Oil
Company has made, of course additional prices could be gotten, owing
to the possibility of putting competitors at a disadvantage. That
business is a large one.

In doing business on this scale, much will depend on your ability as
a merchant.

"It is useless to grow good crops unless they can be sold at a
profit; yet it is safe to say that ten men grow good truck crops for
one who markets them to the best advantage."

Three Acres and Liberty: Ch. XI-XV






CHAPTER XI

HOTBEDS AND GREENHOUSES





Whether to get an early start on the garden or for raising plants
for field crops, a hotbed is all but indispensable. In making a
hotbed what we seek to do is to imitate Nature at her best, so get
the best soil and the sunniest spot you can find.

In all hotbeds the underlying principle is the same: They are
right-angled boxes covered with glass panes set in movable frames
and placed over heated excavations. The bed may be of any size or
shape, but the standard one is six feet wide, since the stock glass
frames are usually six feet long by three feet wide. You can have
any length needed to supply your requirements. "Tomato Culture," by
A. J. Root, tells us that the cheapest plan is to get some old
planks, broken brickbats or stone, and piece together a box-like
affair in proper shape: to provide drainage, the front should be at
least ten inches above the ground and the rear fourteen inches. A
hotbed knocked together in this way is all right to start with, if
you cannot do any better, but will last only two or three seasons.
For a permanent bed, probably the best way is to make cement walls
extending to the bottom of the manure. The bed ought to face south
or southeast and be well protected on the north. It should be banked
all around with earth or straw to keep out the cold, and mats or
shutters should be provided for extra cold weather. The best
material for heating the bed and the most easily obtained, is fresh
horse manure in which there is a quantity of straw or litter. This
will give out a slow, moist heat and will not burn out before the
crops or the plants mature. Get all the manure you need at one time.
Pile it in a dry place and let it ferment; every few days work the
pile over thoroughly with a dung fork; sometimes two turnings of the
manure are enough, but it is better to let it stand and heat three
or four times.

"You can make a hotbed also on top of the ground without any
excavation. Spread a layer of manure evenly one foot in depth and
large enough to extend around the frame three feet each way. Pack
this down well, especially around the edge, put on a second and
third layer until you have a well-trodden and compact bed of manure
at least two and one half feet in depth. Place the frame in the
center of this bed and press it down well." A two-inch layer of
decayed leaves, cut straw, or corn fodder, spread over the manure in
the frame and well packed down, will help to retain the heat.
Ventilate the bed every day to allow steam and ammonia fumes to pass
off.

"The soil inside should be equal parts of garden loam and
well-rotted barnyard manure. Tramp well the first layer of three
inches. To make it entirely safe for the plant seeds in the hotbed,
add another layer of the same depth. Use no water with garden loam
and manure if you can possibly help it."

"Before sowing any seeds put a thermometer in the bed three inches
deep in the soil. If it runs over 80 degrees Fahrenheit, do not sow.
If below 55 degrees it is too cold; you will have to fork it over
and add more manure. If the bed gets too hot, you can ventilate it
with a sharp stick by thrusting it down into the soil."

Another way that the old gardeners have to make a hot bed is with
fire. On a large scale this is cheaper, though more complicated than
the fermentation of manure. In making this kind choose your location
and build the frames as before. "Cut a trench with a slight taper
from the east end of the plot to the end of the hotbed, and on under
the ground to about four feet beyond the end of the bed. This taper
to the outlet will create a draught and so keep a better fire. Arch
this over with vitrified tile. The furnace end where the fire is
should be about six feet away from the bed. When the trenches are
completed, cover over with the dirt that was taken out of them. Two
such trenches under the frames will make a good hotbed. Anyone can
do this sort of work."

A hotbed can also be heated by running steam pipes through the
ground, but unless you happen to be where exhaust steam could be
used, this method is not economical except for big houses. The care
and expense of a separate steam plant would be too great to pay,
unless for growing winter vegetables for market or flower culture.
If you go into that on a scale large enough to pay, new problems at
once demand solution.

Vegetables under glass have kept pace with other crops. Within
fifteen miles of Boston are millions of square feet of glass devoted
to vegetables, chiefly lettuce. There are more than five million
feet in the United States used for other crops. Ordinarily, under
favorable conditions, glass devoted to this work will yield an
average of fifty cents per year per square foot.

About the lowest estimate of cost per sash is five dollars; this
amount includes the cost of one fourth of the frame and covers.
There are usually four sashes to one frame. A well-made mortised
plank frame costs four to six dollars. A sash, unglazed, costs from
one to two dollars. Glazing costs seventy-five cents. Mats and
shutters cost from fifty cents to two dollars per sash, depending
upon the material used. Double thick glass pays better in the end as
being less liable to breakage. These prices vary greatly, however.

The following sample estimate by a gardener is for a market garden
of one acre, in which it is desired to grow a general line of
vegetables. It supposes that half of the acre is to be set with
plants from hotbeds.

One eighth acre to early cauliflower and cabbage, about 2000 plants,
if transplanted, would require two 6 X 12 frames, from two hundred
to two hundred and fifty plants being grown under each sash.

These frames may be used again for tomato plants for the same area,
using about 450 plants. This will allow a sash for every 55 plants.

One frame should be in use at the same time for eggplants and
peppers, two sashes of each, growing fifty transplanted plants under
each sash.

Two frames will be required for cucumbers, melons, and early
squashes; for extra early lettuce, an estimate of sixty to seventy
heads should be made to a sash. It is assumed that celery and late
cabbages are to be started in seed beds in the open.

In the fashionable suburbs of Boston "one hotbed 3 X 6 feet was used
in which to start the seeds of early vegetables. Plantings were made
in the open ground as soon as the weather permitted, and were
continued at intervals throughout the season whenever there was a
vacant spot in the garden. The following varieties of vegetables,
mostly five-and ten-cent packets, were planted: Pole and wax beans,
beets, kale, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, corn, cucumbers,
corn salad, endive, eggplant, kohlrabi, lettuce, muskmelon, onions,
peppers, peas, salsify, radish, spinach, squash, tomatoes, turnips,
rutabagas, escarole, chives, shallot, parsley, sweet and Irish
potatoes, and nearly a dozen different kinds of sweet herbs."

"In the larger garden, tomatoes followed peas, turnips the wax
beans, early lettuce for fall use took the place of Refugee beans.
Corn salad succeeded lettuce."

"The spinach was followed by cabbage, while turnips, beets, carrots,
celery, and spinach gave a second crop in the plot occupied by
Gardus peas and Emperor William beans."

" Winter radishes came after telephone peas, Paris Golden celery was
planted in between the hills of Stowell's blanching. The plot of
early corn was sown to turnips. The hotbed was used during the late
fall and winter to store some of the hardy vegetables, and the
latter part of October there was placed in it some endive, escarole,
celeriac, and the remaining space was filled up by transplanting
leeks, chives, and parsley." (Bailey, "Principles of Vegetable
Gardening," page 38.)

"If spinach is grown in frames, the sash used for one of the late
crops above may be used through the following winter.

"This, like the last case, makes a total of five frames, the cost,
depending on make and material, from one to five dollars; twenty
sash and covers, at, say, $2.75, $55; manure at market price,
calculating at least three or four loads per frame. This is a
liberal estimate of space, and should allow for all ordinary loss of
plants, and for discarding the weak and inferior ones. It supposes
that most or all of the plants are to be transplanted once or more
in the frames. Many gardeners have less equipment of glass." (Same,
pages 49-50 )

Growing vegetables under glass gives smaller returns than flowers;
as, for instance, a head of lettuce brings much less than a plant of
carnations, and suffers more from the competition of southern crops.
Nevertheless, the greenhouse-grown vegetables have come into
prominence lately because they can be raised in houses that are not
good enough for flowers. Lettuce and tomatoes are the principal
crops; some growers raise thousands of dollars' worth each year. The
greenhouse is also used for forcing plants which are afterwards
transplanted to the open air. This develops them at a time when they
could not grow outdoors and gives them such a start that they are
very early on the market, thereby realizing the highest prices.

"Nearness to market is the most important feature in a greenhouse.
In large cities, manure, which is the chief fertilizer, can be had
in most cases for the hauling. The short haul is an important item,
and, most important of all, the gardener who is near the market can
take advantage of high prices, if the grower is near enough to the
city to make two or three trips; in such a fluctuating market as New
York, it is to his advantage."

Some kind of a greenhouse is necessary, but one large enough to
produce a living would cost a very large sum. Vegetable raising
under glass has been made profitable in special localities where
nearly the whole community gives its time to building up the
industry, but complete success can be attained only by having
absolute control of all the conditions entering into production, and
giving assiduous and undivided attention to detail.

Leonard Barron, in the _Garden Magazine, _says: "The best type of
greenhouse for all-round purposes is unquestionably what is known as
the even span--that is, a house in which the roof is in the form of
an inverted V, so as to be exposed as much as possible to sunlight,
and having the ridge-pole in the center. All other types of houses
are modifications from the simplest form, and are designed in some
way or other to fit some special requirements. These requirements
may be: the cultural necessities for some particular crop; a desire
to have the atmospheric conditions inside more or less abnormal at
given seasons (as in a forcing house); or an adaptation to some
peculiarity of the situation, as when a greenhouse is built as an
adjunct to other buildings."

"It is plain common sense that the ideal greenhouse is one in which
the light is most nearly that which exists outside, and in which the
heat is as evenly distributed. It is practical experience that a
structure with as few angles and turns m it as possible and with a
minimum of woodwork in its superstructure, best answers these
conditions.... Greenhouse building has developed into a special
industry, and the modern American greenhouse is the highest type of
construction. It is built with as careful calculation to its
situation and its requirements as is the country dwellinghouse. Such
a thing naturally is not cheap."

"The low-priced 'cheap greenhouse' is a makeshift of some sort.
Perhaps its roof is constructed of hotbed sash, a perfectly feasible
method of construction, which for ordinary, commonplace gardening
will answer admirably. Or, its foundation is merely the plain earth.
Such a building does admirably in the summer time, and even in the
late spring and early autumn; but woe betide the enthusiastic
amateur in winter, who, being possessed of one of these light
greenhouse structures, has indulged in a few costly, exotic plants.
They will be frozen, to a certainty! It is economy to pay a fair
price in the beginning to secure a properly built greenhouse that
will withstand the trials of winter."

" If iron frame is used instead of wood there is greater durability,
and the structure being more slender, will admit more light, but the
cost will be increased."

" It makes very little difference in cost what shape of house is to
be erected. The cost per lineal foot for an even span is practically
the same as for a lean-to of the same length and width. In the
lean-to, in order to get the sufficient bench and walk space inside,
it is necessary to carry the roof to a point much higher than in the
even span. The extra framework and material for the roof cost a good
deal, yet add practically nothing to the efficiency of the house."

"Heating of greenhouses is best done by hot water, and in a small
house the pipes may well be connected with the heating system used
for the dwelling, if the greenhouse and the home are within any sort
of reasonable distance from each other. For large houses, or ranges
of several houses together, the independent heating plant is
necessary. Steam is used for heating by commercial florists, but it
is economical only on a large scale."

"As a uniform temperature must be maintained in the house, the
fires, where steam is used, need watching continuously during cold
weather, for the moment the water ceases to boil, the pipes cool off
and a considerable time is consumed in starting the heat running
again. With hot water there is much more latitude in attention, for
though the fires dwindle' the water which fills the pipes will carry
heat for a long time, and it will circulate until the last degree is
radiated. But a hot-water system costs in the installation about one
fourth more than steam. Very small houses may be successfully heated
by kerosene stoves, which may be placed inside the house. A much
better way would be to use oil heaters for an inside water
circulation, carrying off all products of combustion by means of a
flue. Coal stoves should never be installed inside the house. It has
been done successfully by some amateurs, but the danger of coal gas
being driven back into the house by a down draft in the chimney is
too great a risk. Coal gas and illuminating gas are two virulent
poisons to plants."

It is obvious that the amateur must proceed with great caution in
undertaking intensive cultivation under glass. Build at first the
simplest and least expensive kind of hotbeds or greenhouses. It
takes three to five seasons to train even an experienced farmer
along these special lines. Separate crops require special treatment.
Do not experiment, but follow well-tried procedure. It is
comparatively easy to farm an acre under glass, but it should be
worked up to, each step being taken only after a solid foundation is
ready to build on. Learn by your mistakes. Don't get discouraged by
failure. By not making the same mistake twice, you will soon learn
by experience just what is essential to production. The more you
learn about the way nature does things, the more likely you will be
to succeed when you seek to imitate her.






CHAPTER XII

OTHER USES OF LAND





We had intended to write an interesting chapter on the use of a few
acres of land for poultry, and another on raising a vast drove of
rabbits, both from practical men, but a good average man, just such
as this book is written for, sent the following:

"I am very sorry that I cannot comply with your request to write a
chapter on poultry for your new book. It is true that I am
physically and mentally capable of performing that feat, and it
would be possible for me to prepare an essay that might entertain
the reader, and even make him believe that there is money in
commercial poultry. I prefer, however, to leave that sort of
romancing to the poultry journals who, by much practice, are adepts
in the art. The fact is, I did not make poultry raising pay, and had
I remained on my chicken ranch, I would have gone broke. I do not
mean to say, however, that there is no money in poultry, but merely
that I could not get it out. Perhaps others who are better equipped
for the work can make a success of such an undertaking, but I could
not. The numerous poultry journals are filled with instructions how
to do it and with letters from people who assert that they have done
well with poultry; but, really, during the four years that I was in
the business I cannot recall a single case of success, and, on the
other hand, I learned of failures without end. I had the reputation
of having the best planned and most completely equipped in this part
of Washington, and perhaps in the entire state. My stock was
thoroughbred and healthy, and they seemed to attend to business
strictly. I devoted about all my waking hours to them, did
everything that seemed necessary that was suggested by my own
success, and yet I could not make it go, am glad I am clear of it,
and have no desire to try it again. I am perfectly willing to admit
my possible unfitness for the business, but I am also compelled to
admit that I could not succeed and that no advice of mine could help
others."

Although many, either under exceptional circumstances or because of
exceptional ability, have made a success of wholesale poultry
raising, it seems on reflection that Mr. Wolf 's ideas are in the
main correct.

The price of chickens is fixed, like all other prices, by supply and
demand, and toward the supply every farmer contributes his chickens
and their eggs which cost him practically nothing; at least he
counts that they cost him nothing.

Now it is clear that if you considerably increase the supply at any
place, the price will fall, and the farmer, whose chickens and eggs
cost him almost nothing in money, will sell them low enough to
command a market and will continue to raise them, however little he
gets for them.

So you are against inexhaustible competitors who can neither be
driven out nor combined with. It is worse than competing with
bankrupt dealers. To make much money you must have at least some
monopoly, and even a little bit of the earth that is well suited to
your purpose where there is no unreasonable and unreasoning
competition, will give you a chance.

But while it is true that the farmer's subsidized hens have a very
disastrous effect at times upon the market, the fact is that,
notwithstanding the tariff, we import millions of dozens of eggs
laid each year by the pauper hens of Canada and often of Denmark.

Another fact to be considered is, that it is when eggs are most
plentiful that the farmers depress the market. With their ways of
handling their poultry, their hens lay only when conditions are most
favorable, and in the winter when eggs are as high as fifty cents a
dozen in cities, they have no eggs to market. Like the market
gardener, to be timely in market is to succeed. A week may mean an
annihilation of profits.

It is a different proposition to raise a few chickens as a side line
as the farmers do.

A workman at the Connecticut place of one of the experts who has
revised this book had a bit of land not more than l00 X 200 feet,
and for several years cleared $100 a year by raising eggs and
broilers, doing the work together with that of a little garden of
small fruits before and after working hours The chickens fed largely
on green food in summer.

In selling your surplus at a profit, the same principles apply as in
raising a surplus to sell at a profit.

While poultry and egg raising does not require that you must be
first, it does require that you market your produce at a time when
the prices are highest.

You must hatch at a time which will allow the young hens to begin
laying as winter approaches; the food must keep up animal heat and
the house must be warm enough to make the hens comfortable, and the
conditions must be such as to keep them laying.

As an experiment, we once raised six pullets. They were hatched in
May, and in December they began laying. All during the winter they
laid never less than four and some times six eggs a day, and kept
this up until spring.

They were fed on wheat and corn and plenty of meat scraps and green
food. They were kept in what was practically a glass house,
receiving the benefit of the sun during the day, and were protected
from the winds. The effect was to bring as near as possible the
condition of the warm months; these paid very well.

Ducks are less frequently raised than chickens and often realize
good returns.

The popular fallacy that ducks require a stream or pond is gradually
passing away. There was a time when nearly all ducks were raised in
this way, feeding on fish as the principal diet, but experience has
proved that ducks raised without a stream or pond tend to put on
flesh instead of feathers, and they have not the oily, fishy flavor
of those raised on the water. Nearly all of the successful duck
raisers now use this method.

This is bringing the duck more into prominence as an article of
food; as James Rankin says in "Duck Culture," "People do not care to
eat fish and flesh combined. They would rather eat them separate."

The white pekins are the popular birds, because they are larger,
have white meat, and are splendid layers. They lay from 100 to 165
eggs in a season and are the easiest to raise. They can do entirely
without water; and Rankin tells of selling a flock to a wealthy man,
who afterwards wrote asking him to take them back, because he had
bought them for an artificial lake in front of his house, so that
his wife and children could watch them disporting in the water. He
complained that they would not go into the water unless he drove
them in and would remain only so long as he stood over them.

Ducks are easier to raise than any other fowl and are freer from
disease. They are ready for market when eight weeks old.

The industry is assuming large proportions, and ranches are now
raising ducks by the tens of thousands and are finding better
markets each year.

In starting any poultry business, it is better to begin with
twenty-five fowls and master details with those, then double the
number as fast as they have been made to return profits.

The Atlantic Squab Company, of Hammonton, N. J., says "it is a
simple matter for the beginner to figure out on paper net profits of
four or five dollars per year from each pair of breeders, but we
doubt if it can be made. It is, however, 'pigeon nature' to lay ten
or eleven times a year, but hardly natural to presume that each and
every egg will ultimately mean a Jumbo squab in the commission man's
hands.

"A loft [that is, a pair] of high-class Homers, properly mated,
should average six pair of squabs per year. For one year our squabs
averaged us a fraction over 60 cent per pair; say $3.60 has been
the returns from each pair of breeders. It has cost us 90 cent per
pair to feed for twelve months; remember, we buy in large
quantities; it would cost the small breeder $1 a year per pair to
feed. It would be well to allow 60 cent a pair for labor and
supplies, such as grit, charcoal, tobacco stems, etc., although the
bird manure, which we find ready sale for at 55 cent. per bushel,
has covered these incidental expenses for us. The inexperienced
beginner, with good management and close attention to details,
should clear $2 a year from each pair of birds, provided he starts
with well-mated pure Homer stock." Pigeons are particular about
their mates, and will rather go single than take a disagreeable
partner.

Raising Belgian hares at one time promised to be a most profitable
industry. The Belgian hare is a distant relation of the ordinary
rabbit. Its flesh is white, close-grained, and tender, resembling
the legs of the frog, and has a very savory flavor. It is considered
by many superior to poultry, and the rapidity with which they breed
gave promise of fortunes. The doe brings forth a litter of about
eleven every sixty days, and with prices ranging from $1.50 to
$2.50, as they were about the year 1900, with the cost of raising
from thirty to forty cents, the reason for this promise is evident.
In Southern California thousands turned their attention to it, and
some firms entered the business with equipment to the value of fifty
thousand dollars.

Besides the ordinary market prices realized for the hares, some went
extensively into breeding fancy stock, and realized from $50 to $250
apiece for them.

This industry had indications of becoming extensive and enduring,
but by 1900 so many went into the business that the markets became
glutted and prices fell with disastrous effect.

Whether it will pay you depends largely on the attitude of your
customers toward the hare as a food product.

Bee-keeping offers an interesting and remunerative field of
employment. More than the average living awaits those only who will
make a careful and intelligent study of bees and their habits and
will give them the proper care and attention.

One need not be a practical bee-keeper to enter this field. He can
purchase even one hive and, while increasing from this, he can gain
an experience that he could get in no other way.

How shall one start bee-keeping?

Get one hive or a few hives. If you have no room in the yard, put
them upon the roof. One man in Cincinnati, Ohio, makes his living
from bees kept on the roof of his house.

Wm. A. Selzer, a large dealer in bee-keepers' supplies, in
Philadelphia, established many colonies on the roof of his place
right in the heart of the business district, where it would seem
impossible for bees to find a living.

Very little space is required for bee-keeping; hives can be set two
feet apart in rows, and the rows six to ten feet apart. No pasture
need be provided for them. There are always fields of flowers to
supply the nectar.

White clover produces a large yield of nectar of very fine flavor.
The basswood or linden tree blossom produces a fine nectar which
some consider better than white clover. Buckwheat also gives a good
yield of nectar, but it is dark in color and brings a lower price
for that reason. There are other plants which yield large quantities
of nectar, and it would be necessary to know the locality to say
what would be the best plants; but as white clover is found almost
everywhere in the northern states, it is safe to say this will be
the best producer in the spring, and goldenrod, where found, the
best for the fall supply.

Frank Benton, in United States Department of Agriculture Bulletin
59, says: "It may be safely said that any place where farming,
gardening, or fruit raising can be successfully followed is adapted
to the profitable keeping of bees."

There is always a farmer here and there who keeps a few hives of
bees. These often can be purchased at a very reasonable price, but
unless they are Italian bees and are in improved hives, it would be
better to purchase from some dealer. He may sell you a very weak
colony, but after the first year these ought to be as strong as any.
Start in the spring; when you have your bees, read good literature
on the subject. A. I. Root's "A B C of Bee Culture" is good for
beginners; subscribe for the _American Bee Journal, _of Chicago, or
_Gleanings in Bee Culture, _Medina, Ohio. They are full of the
latest ideas on the subject.

A yield of fifty pounds of honey in a season can be obtained from
one hive of bees in almost any locality. In fact, this is often done
where bees are kept in built up cities. One hundred pounds would be
considered a very small yield by many apiarists, and twice this
amount is often gathered in favored localities where up-to-date
methods are followed.

One man can take care of two hundred hives or colonies, as they are
termed, if he is working for comb honey, and perhaps twice that
number if for extracted honey.

Comb honey is stored usually in one-pound boxes set in a super or
small box over the main hive body, which is itself a box about
seventeen inches long, eleven inches wide, and ten inches deep into
which frames of comb are slid side by side. These combs are
accessible and can be lifted out, exposing to view the inner
workings of the hive. It is in these combs that the queen lays as
many as three thousand eggs some days, and in which the young bees
are hatched. They are also used for storing honey for winter use.

The extractor has been invented to remove this honey without
damaging the comb. The economy of this can readily be seen, as ten
pounds of honey can be stored while one pound of comb is being
built.

This leaves the bees free to gather honey instead of using a portion
of their force to build comb, as is necessary when comb honey is
desired.

The extractor is a round tin can on a central pivot with a revolving
mechanism. Into this the full combs of honey are placed and are
whirled around, throwing the honey out into the can by centrifugal
force. It is then run out at the bottom into bottles or barrels, and
the empty combs are replaced in the hive for the bees to fill again.

Twice as many pounds of honey can be produced by this method; but
the price of extracted honey is much less than that of comb honey.
Adulteration of extracted honey with glucose is becoming so
prevalent that it threatens to ruin this branch of the industry. But
there will always be a good market for honey sold direct by the
producer to residents, or even through storekeepers, in medium size
towns, where customers can be sure that the honey is pure.

The average wholesale prices of honey are about fifteen cents a
pound for extracted and twenty cents for fancy comb, so if the
apiarist with two hundred hives produces the small average of fifty
pounds of comb honey and sells it at fifteen cents a pound, he will
receive $1500 for his season's work. If he goes in for extracted
honey and produces one hundred pounds per hive, he will receive even
more. Of course, expenses will have to come out of this.

That this has been done over and over again is proved by men who
started in with only a few hives and have accumulated considerable
property from the business.

But no one need expect to do this unless he is willing to give the
bees the attention which they will require. To neglect them once
means often a total loss. Most of the work will have to be done
during the swarming season in May, June, and July. There has been so
much written on the subject and so many inventions and improvements
made in the hives that bee-keeping more than any other branch of
similar employment has been reduced to a science, and any one can
thoroughly master it in two or three years. It is because its
possibilities are not generally recognized that so few are now
engaged in it.

The fear of stings will always deter many from entering this
business and so check competition from forcing prices down.

The price of honey makes it a luxury, and there will be an unlimited
opportunity in the crop as long as the price does not get near the
cost of producing, which is far below the present prices.

To use land directly is to open almost infinite opportunities.
Department of Agriculture, Farmers' Bulletin 204, says: "In the
United States the term 'mushroom' refers commercially to but a
single species _(Agaricus Campestris) _of the fleshly fungi, a plant
common throughout most of the temperate regions of the world, and
one everywhere recognized as edible."

It is unfortunate that the commercial use of the term "mushroom"
restricts it to a single species. There are about twenty-five common
varieties of edible fungi in the Northern states.

The successful cultivation of mushrooms in America has not been so
general as in most European countries. It is in France and in
England that the mushroom industry has been best developed. France
is the home of the industry. Unusual interest has been shown in the
United States in the growth of mushrooms within the past few years,
and it is to be hoped and expected that within the next ten years
the industry will develop to the fullest limit of the market
demands. The demand will, of course, be stimulated by the increasing
popular appreciation of this product. In some cities and towns there
is already a good market for mushrooms, while in others they may be
sold directly to special customers. This should be borne in mind by
prospective growers.

While many American growers have been successful, a much larger
number have failed. In most cases their failures have been due to
one or more of the following causes:

(1) Poor spawn, or spawn which has been killed by improper storage.

(2) Spawning at a temperature injuriously high.

(3) Too much water either at the time of spawning or later.

(4) Unfavorable temperature during the growing period. It is
therefore important to the prospective grower that careful attention
be given to the general discussion of conditions which follow.

Mushrooms may be grown in any place where the conditions of
temperature and moisture are favorable. A shed, cellar, cave, or
vacant space in a greenhouse may be utilized to advantage for this
purpose. The most essential factor, perhaps, is that of temperature.
The proper temperature ranges from 53 degree to 60 degree F., with
the best from 55 degree to 58 degree F. It is unsafe to attempt to
grow mushrooms on a commercial basis, according to our present
knowledge of the subject, in a temperature much less than 50 degree
or greater than 63 degree F.

Any severe changes of temperature would entirely destroy
the profits of the mushroom crop. From this it is evident that in
many places mushrooms may not be grown as a summer crop. With
artificial heat they may be grown almost anywhere throughout the
winter. Moreover, it is very probable that in this country open-air
culture must be limited to a few sections.

A second important factor is moisture. The place should not be very
damp, or constantly dripping with water. Under such conditions
successful commercial work is not possible. A place where it is
possible to maintain a fairly moist condition of the atmosphere, and
having such capability for ventilation as will cause at least a
gradual evaporation, is necessary. With too rapid ventilation and
the consequent necessity of repeated applications of water to the
mushroom bed, no mushroom crop will attain the highest perfection.

Even a little iron rust in the soil is reported as fatal to the
Campestris, the only fungus so far successfully propagated.

If other fungi than the Campestris come up wild, don't throw them
away as worthless. Many are better eating than the one you seek, and
you can avoid the risk of poisonous ones by learning to recognize
the dangerous family--send for the Agricultural Department's
Bulletin No. 204. Meanwhile, (1) all mushrooms with pink gills, (2)
all coral-like fungi, (3) all that grow on wood, and (4) all
puffballs, are good to eat if they are young and tender--only don't
mistake an unspread Aminita for a puffball.

An ingenious person may find other sources of income in the country.
A young hotel porter in Ulster County, New York, bought seventy
acres of mountain woodland four miles from the railroad for two
hundred and fifty dollars, and puts in his winters cutting barrel
hoops, at which he makes two dollars a day. Meanwhile the land is
maturing timber. That is hard work, but to gather wild mushrooms or
to cut willows, or sweet pine needles to make cushions, or to catch
young squirrels for sale, is lighter, if less steady employment.

And with all our uses of land, we must not forget a little corner
for the hammock and the croquet hoops for the wife and the children.
In the Province of Quebec, where the land is held in great tracts
under the Seigniors, I have seen croquet grounds no bigger than a
bed quilt in front of the little one-room cottages.

The Frenchman knows the importance of such things as that, has meals
out of doors in fine weather, goes on little picnics, and keeps
madame contented in the country.

A swing, or a seesaw, and a tether ball (a ball swinging from the
top of a pole eight feet high) for the children will help to keep
the family peace.






CHAPTER XIII

FRUITS





Fruit raising can succeed in either of two ways. Either planting the
orchard in some one fruit and specializing thereon, or diversifying
the operation to cover many varieties. In the first way it is usual
to establish orchards in favorable localities without special regard
to nearness to market; because in these days of refrigerator car
lines the product of an orchard in any part of the country can be
sent to market quickly enough to avoid loss. Where many varieties
are grown, the best site is usually near a large city where the
grower can market his own product on wagons and get the benefit of
retail prices.

Remember that it is far more profitable to raise twenty baskets of
fine, well-shaped, clean, handsome apples or peaches or any other
hand-eaten fruit, than to raise a hundred barrels of stuff that is
good only for the common drier or for the mill or hogpen.

Care and common sense are the jackscrews to use in raising fine
fruit.

The apple is the great American fruit for extensive orcharding. The
question is whether there is a profit in apple growing. The answer
is, where the conditions are favorable and when the business is well
conducted there is. Under average conditions, with poor business
management, there is little or none.

As Professor S. T. Maynard in _Suburban Life _tells us, "In a
suburban garden of one of our Eastern cities are seven Astrachan
trees, about twenty years old, from which have been sold in a single
season over one hundred dollars' worth of fruit. A friend near
Boston put three thousand barrels of picked Baldwins into cold
storage. None of the fancy apples sold for less than three dollars a
barrel, and the others netted more than two dollars. They were the
product of less than forty acres of trees which had been planted
about twenty-five years. Another fruit grower showed me several
returns of commission men of five, six, and even seven dollars a
barrel for fancy Baldwins. At such prices, and under such
conditions, there is a large profit in apple growing."

"The other side of the picture, however, is the more common one. A
friend sent fifty barrels of fancy Baldwins to a commission house,
to be shipped to European markets, the returns for which were just
enough to pay for the barrels. The majority of apples grown in the
United States are sold to buyers, one buyer in each section, for a
dollar to two dollars for No. 1 quality, and a dollar for No. 2.
With the cost of barrels at about forty cents, labor for picking,
sorting, and packing, these prices leave little or nothing for the
use of the land, cost of fertilizers, spraying, thinning, etc., all
of which are necessary for growing fruit of the best quality."

Holmes further says, in substance, that we must make the trees grow
vigorously, whether upon poor or good soil. Growth is the first
requirement. To do this, we need a strong, deep, moist soil,--good
grass land well underdrained makes the best. If this is on an
elevation with a northern or western exposure, it will be better
than a southern or an eastern one. While apple trees will grow on a
thin soil, so much care and fertilizing is required that the crop
will be of little or no profit upon such land. Lastly, we must
protect our fruit from insect and fungous pests.

On land that is free from stones and not too steep, thorough and
frequent cultivation will give the quickest and largest returns. On
such land, hoed garden or farm crops may be profitable while the
trees are small, but after five or six years it will generally be
found best to cultivate it entirely for the growth of trees. Organic
matter in the form of stable manure or cover crops will be needed,
and must be applied in the fall or very early in the spring to keep
up the supply of humus in the soil.

Stony land that cannot be plowed or cultivated except at a great
cost may be made to grow good crops of fruit.

While the trees are young, the soil should be worked about them for
the space of a few feet and then the moisture retained by a mulch
system, making use of any waste organic matter like straw, leaves,
meadow hay, brush, and weeds cut before they seed. Most of the first
prize apples at the Pan-American Exposition at Buffalo were grown
under the "turf-culture" system.

Unless you have trees already on your land, it is too long to wait
six or seven years for a crop. We can graft good fruit on almost any
tree, though the new dwarf trees will bear much sooner, and if we
have trees we need not even wait for the harvest of our crop, since
the windfalls will keep us in apple sauce, jellies, and pies, for no
apple is too green for apple sauce, not even the ones that the boys
can't bite.

The greatest difficulty in the profitable growth of the apple is the
market. Much of the profit in apple growing, whether in the East or
the West, will depend upon the extent of the business done,
especially if one is a considerable distance from markets. The above
are the essentials noted by this practical scientist. Next to the
apple crop, perhaps the most important fruit crop for shipping is
the peach. The locality is perhaps the most important consideration
in a peach orchard. In the Eastern and Southern states, and in
Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia, and, of
late years, Georgia, peaches flourish and produce enormous crops. As
a general rule, the nearer the orchard is to large bodies of water,
the more likely one is to get a crop, as the temperature of the
water prevents a too early budding out in the spring and delays
killing autumn frosts.

Generally speaking, a sandy, porous soil is best for peaches, but
they may be raised on clay lands if provided with plenty of humus.

Another fruit which is profitable in districts suited to its growth
is the grape. Bulletin No. 153, Cornell Experiment Station, says:
"Grapes are a dessert fruit. They are not used to a large extent in
the kitchen (though they might be), so there are few incidental or
secondary products; that is, they are not dried, canned, made into
jellies, and the like, to any extent, that is, in the United States.

The grape is peculiarly a sectional product. Central New York has a
large area devoted to it. In northern Ohio, a strip along Lake Erie,
and some of its islands, are devoted almost exclusively to grape
vineyards. In districts where grapes are intensively grown, a great
part of the crop is used for wine, and American wine is extensively
sold m our home markets, although it frequently has foreign labels.

Any one purchasing a farm should plant some grapevines for home use.
Grape juice is easily made and kept and is a pleasing beverage.
Grape jelly is excellent and could be readily marketed in any nearby
town, since there is very little, comparatively, on sale. A grape
arbor gives shade, needs little care, and can be planted near the
house where it will not interfere with the crops. For you cannot
cultivate all of your land; some grassy space must be left around
the house if only for drying clothes. But if ground is scarce, vines
or lima beans can be trained up the back porch or up the sunny side
of the house; or a few climbing nasturtiums will give decorations
without care, while the young leaves make a good salad.

Of home orchard fruits, the plum, pear, and quince are all
profitable specialties, especially for intensive acre raising. In
general, the same remark may be made of them as of the other fruits,
that they need careful selection of land to get the best results.
The cherry has recently come to be recognized as a good commercial
specialty. Mr. George T. Powell, in _The American Agriculturist,
_says: "The crop is a precarious one to market.... The risk and loss
may be largely reduced by making a proper selection of site for the
orchard. This should be on high ground where the air generally
circulates freely. This is especially necessary for sweet varieties.
The soil should be rich, with naturally good drainage."

He says: "I have had Rockport trees produce four hundred pounds each
and the fruit net ten cents a pound for the entire crop. The English
Morello trees may be grown fifteen feet apart each way, which will
allow two hundred trees to the acre. The larger trees ought to be
planted somewhat thinner.... Cherries are packed largely in
eight-pound baskets and in strawberry quarts. Each basket is filled
with carefully assorted fruit, every imperfect specimen being taken
out, after which they are faced by placing the stems downward so
that the cherry shows in regular rows upon the face. Girls and women
do this work. The Eastern fruit grower must bear in mind that he has
to meet in his market the competition of the Pacific coast growers,
who excel in fine packing; and although our Eastern grown cherries
are of a finer flavor, they are sent to the market in such a crude
manner and in such unattractive condition that they sell for much
less than the California fruit."

Regarding bush berries, he says, you will get a small crop the
second year after planting and for the third and subsequent years a
full crop. The important thing is to keep the dead canes well pruned
out, as the cane borer is one of the worst insect pests. When they
appear they can be stopped by cutting off the shoot several inches
below the puncture as soon as it begins to droop, and burning the
part cut off. Again, Mr. Powell says, "Currants require rich soil.
A clay or heavy loam is better than a heavy dry soil. They should be
planted in the fall. The average from ten thousand bushes should be
about four quarts each. The cherry currant is perhaps the largest in
size, but not so prolific as some others. Currants are shipped and
sold in thirty-two quart crates and have to be carefully packed to
get to market in good condition."

Gooseberries are raised by the acre. Mr. A. M. Brown, Kent County,
Delaware, in _The American Agriculturist, _tells of a plantation in
Central Delaware where over twenty four thousand pounds were
gathered from a scant four acres. The product was sold to the
Baltimore canners for six cents a pound, making $1440 in all. In
addition to the gooseberries grown on six acres, a large crop each
of apples and pears were grown on the same ground. Like currants,
the gooseberry must be sprayed to destroy the worms, and cut back
and burnt to destroy the cane borer.

There is little special knowledge required, however, in raising this
fruit, and it is well adapted for growers with small acreage and
little money.

In going into the cultivation of bush fruits, it is usually best to
grow them in great variety near the market where they are to be
sold. The bush fruits are then uniformly profitable. In _Suburban
Life _Mr. E. C. Powell tells us that the spring is the best time for
planting raspberries and blackberries, just as soon as the ground is
dry enough to work. The first season the plots should be well
tilled. It is possible to grow vegetables between the rows the first
year before the berries begin to bear, but unless pressed for space,
it probably doesn't pay.

Perhaps the best of small fruits, however, and most largely used is
the strawberry. The strawberry can be planted by the acre. The
ground must be rich loam and plenty of humus, well drained, with a
southern exposure. Well-grown plants set out in the open will bear a
small crop the first season, but will not become of maximum bearing
till the second year. After the crop is taken off in the fall a
mulch of straw or leaves should be placed over the plants to protect
them during the winter. The strawberries are picked by boys and
girls.

The strawberry is an exceedingly profitable crop if properly
handled, and is one of the best small fruits for people with little
capital. While the price in the general market varies from fifteen
to thirty cents per quart, they sometimes run as high as fifty in
the early spring; yet it is possible to grow strawberries worth six
dollars a quart by intensive culture in greenhouses. Mr. S. W.
Fletcher, in _Country Life in America, _says: "The forcing of
strawberries is a specialized industry of the highest type.
Everybody cannot make it pay everywhere.... Strawberries are forced
in pots or in benches. The pot method is preferred by those who find
a demand for the highest quality of fruit regardless of expense....
If fruit is desired for Christmas, the plants are not checked to any
extent, but are kept in continuous growth. The conditions of
springtime are simulated as far as possible. At Christmas time a
quart box of forced Marshall strawberries sells at from one-fifty to
eight dollars per quart, averaging about four dollars."

Our most valuable allies against the insect armies are toads, bats,
wasps, dragon flies, and birds; they enjoy the battle.

There cannot be too many toads or bats. Toads will eat all sorts of
flies, potato bugs, squash bugs, rose bugs, caterpillars, and almost
anything that crawls.

If the wasps become a nuisance, it is easy to poison them; but the
birds are often a nuisance--the robins eat the strawberries and
cherries the instant they are ripe. They soon get used to
scarecrows; and to cover the fruit with nets gives the insects a
free hand. Some growers raise sweet cherries or other fruits
specially to feed up the birds so that they will let the rest alone.
Early rising and a plenty of cats is about the best remedy. A man,
or even a woman, working on the land is the best scarecrow.

There are a few other fruits that grow wild in certain sections and
are gathered and sent to market. Among these the cranberry is the
most important. It grows in nearly inaccessible bogs, principally in
New Jersey, and the usual custom is for owners of land on which
there are cranberry bogs to let out the bog to pickers on a
percentage basis. Cranberries can be cultivated, and there is a
considerable profit in the business. The swampy nature of the ground
needed, however, will deter all except the most persistent from this
industry. Some cranberry bogs bring as high as a thousand dollars an
acre.

The blueberry or huckleberry, or, as we call it in Ireland, the
bilberry, or frohen, grows wild in the northerly states, and is much
sought after in the market. Many efforts have been made to grow the
blueberry commercially; but, as is well said by Mr. J. H. Hale in
the _Rural New Yorker,_ "The blueberry proved to be a good deal like
Indians--it would not stand civilization, and was never
satisfactory, although I monkeyed with it for a period of about ten
years." Mr. Fred W. Card, of Rhode Island, in the same issue reports
a similar experience. With our present knowledge of the blueberry,
it is doubtful if it can be made a commercially cultivated crop.
Lately, however, it is claimed that it can be grown in very poor,
non-nitrogenous soil.

A variety, however, called the Garden Blueberry, gives almost
incredible yields, five bushels being reported from sixty plants. It
keeps all winter _on the branches, _if stored in a cellar, and is of
fine flavor and especially good for preserves. A little frost
improves it.

But wild berries, crab apples, and elderberries and others, are good
to preserve and find a ready sale if attractively put up; they also
help out tile table greatly. Then think of the fun!

In recent years, certain varieties of nuts, like the English walnut,
the pecan, and the hickory nuts have been grown commercially. In the
South particularly, the pecan has been found a good crop to plant on
cotton plantations which have been overworked. In the _Rural New
Yorker, _Mr. H. E. Vandevan gives an account of an old cotton
plantation of 2250 acres Iying on the west bank of the Mississippi
River in Louisiana. The pecan tree was indigenous to the land, and
the wooded portion of the plantation has thousands of giant pecan
trees growing on it. The previous owners of this plantation had done
all in their power to destroy these trees, but they flourished in
spite of that. Mr. Vandevan, however, saw in the pecan a large
profit, and he has planted ten thousand trees on six hundred acres,
all in a solid block. The trees are set fifty feet apart both ways,
except where a roadway is left. Between the pecan trees Mr. Vandevan
has planted fig trees for early returns, with the intention of
canning the fruit.

The English walnut is grown principally in California. Its value has
been recognized only recently, as all of the nut crops take a good
many years before the trees begin to bear. Nut growing on a small
scale is not of much value to a man with a little bit of land,
except as an additional source of income.

If you find a sweet chestnut tree or a shell-bark hickory or two in
your wood lot, they will well repay protection and careful
cultivation.

If you don't, why--there are great promises in quick maturing nut
trees. There is now an English walnut which is claimed to bear the
third or even the second year after setting out. My own small
experience with these in New Jersey, however, has not been a
success.






CHAPTER XIV

FLOWERS





Every city in the United States affords an opportunity for flower
gardening and nurseries, but a study must be made of the market in
order to know what is best to raise and where to raise it.

The choice of crops depends on the popular taste. The flowers which
are now in greatest demand are the rose, carnation, violet, and
chrysanthemum.

Near every large city there are hundreds of florists with glass
houses, some covering twenty acres or more. There were over 2000
acres of flower land under glass reported at the last census. As
almost all industries to-day are specialized, so is floriculture; in
one place we see ten acres of glass given over to the rose, in
another thousands of dollars devoted to the carnation or the violet,
while one grower in Queens, Long Island, has 75,000 square feet of
glass for carnations.

The specialist who devotes his thoughts and energies to raising one
flower can produce better results than if he raised a variety. He
has only one crop to market, and can do it more successfully than
with a number of crops. If he raises enough to make himself a factor
in the market, he can sell direct instead of sending his product to
a commission man, thereby receiving better prices.

Little capital is required to start; intelligent effort is the road
to success. Very few, indeed, who are now leaders in floriculture,
started with more than $500 capital, and many with much less. One of
the largest growers of roses in the United States, whose plant
covers more than ten acres, did not have $500 when he started, and
many others not so well known are making handsome livings and have
accumulated thousands of dollars of property from a start of less
than $500.

But practical knowledge is much more necessary than in raising
vegetables, as small mistakes will have more serious results.
Therefore, if you have some capital and wish to go into flower
raising, it will pay you, if circumstances permit, to hire out to a
florist, even at small wages, till you have learned the
business--even though you have raised flowers successfully in a home
garden.

Mr. Frank Hamilton, manager of C. W. Ward's of Queens, tells of at
least a dozen men, who have been in their employ during his
twenty-five years' experience, some of whom got only twenty dollars
a month at first, and afterwards started in a small way for
themselves, who are now making a substantial living.

Although the market depends largely on the wealthy class in the
large cities, many florists devote considerable time and space to
flowers which are bought by the poorer class of city dwellers who
have no space or time to raise their own.

There are always good markets somewhere for the crop, and it is not
an uncommon thing to ship flowers from New York to Chicago, Buffalo,
Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, or vice versa. The
chances of success for a lover of flowers are better in this
business than in any in which one with a like amount of capital can
engage. If the business at first is not large enough to use all his
time he will find no trouble in securing employment in his immediate
vicinity. There are always some who want such a person to care for
their lawns or to give some time to their conservatories.

In the last ten years the business has doubled, and while many have
gone into it, the profit they are making indicates that supply has
not kept pace with demand, and that it is not likely to be overdone
the near future.

Professor B. T. Galloway, in an article in _The World's Work, _says,
"An acre of soil under glass pays fifty times as much as an acre
outdoors. There are annually sold in this country six to seven
million dollars' worth of carnation flowers There are no less than
eight to ten million square feet of glass in the United States
devoted to this flower alone."

Although Mr. Rockefeller's place at Tarrytown is the largest
competitor in the New York market for violets, there is no local
monopoly in that, and the local producer with personal attention can
do well.

In the _Country Gentleman _an account is given of a violet farm on
the north shore of Illinois, where two women are supplying local
florists.. One of them says: "We started our farm last spring in the
face of most discouraging prophecies from our friends and the
keenest competition of violet growers of New York. But we believed
we could be successful. We had studied the best scientific methods
of growing the plants, had imported the best soil obtainable, and
built a greenhouse fully adapted to our needs, so we just went ahead
and we found it to be a paying proposition.

"Our first experiment was in using cuttings from the violet farm of
a lady at Lansing, Michigan, who has been a most successful grower.
These did not thrive, and we next imported 3000 cuttings from the
Tarrytown neighborhood, where violet culture has been most
successful.

"The first rule is to keep the temperature of the greenhouse between
forty-five and fifty degrees. Violets are spring flowers, and wither
and droop if the temperature is not at the right degree. Most people
think the double violets have no fragrance because most of those
that we get lose their fragrance in transit.

"We supply 2000 flowers a week, and as they reach our patrons within
two or three hours at the most from the time of cutting, they retain
their fragrance. They are also larger and of a deeper color than the
New York flowers. Next year we hope to go in on a much larger scale.

"While the work is not hard, it requires infinite care and vigilance
when the little plants are growing. As a career for a woman, violet
growing offers greater inducements than anything I can think of."

Then, surely, others can succeed in other flowers at other places.
While there is little choice between the standard styles of
greenhouses for violets, there should be abundant provision for
supplying fresh air, either from the sides or top, whichever is
chosen. The system of ventilation should admit of operation either
from the inside or the outside of the house, as fumigation with
hydrocyanic acid gas is sometimes necessary, in the fumes of which
it is impossible to enter, unless with a gas mask.

The arrangement of the house should secure the greatest possible
supply of sunshine in December and January, and the least possible
during the growing season, when, as Miss Howard points out, it is
necessary to secure as low a temperature as possible, so as to
obtain good, vigorous, healthy-growing plants. The best site is a
level piece of ground, or one sloping gently to the south.

Of the diseases to which cultivated violets are subject Mr. P. H.
Dorsett, of the Department of Agriculture, names four as especially
dangerous: Spot disease, producing whitish spots on the foliage;
root rot, apt to attack young plants transplanted in hot, dry
weather; wet rot, a fungus apt to appear in too moist air or where
ventilation is insufficient; and yellowing, of the cause of which
little is known. Any of these diseases is difficult to exterminate
when it once gains a foothold. The best thing to do is to get
strong, vigorous cuttings, and then to give careful attention to
watering, cultivation, and ventilation, and the destruction of dead
and dying leaves and all runners as fast as they appear.

Among insect enemies, the aphids, red spiders, eel worms, gall
flies, and slugs may be mentioned. Most of these can be easiest
controlled by hydrocyanic acid gas treatment.

Chrysanthemums, especially of preternatural size and bizarre
colors--the college colors at football games, for instance--are in
great demand. They are extremely decorative, and their remarkable
lasting quality insures their permanent popularity. I have heard
that the unexpanded bud can be cooked like cauliflower for the
table; but we have not learned to use them in that way. In Japan and
China the leaves of the chrysanthemum are esteemed as a salad. One
attempt has been made by English gardeners to introduce this use of
them into England, but it was unsuccessful.

The annual shows of chrysanthemums and of roses indicate the
importance of the business.

It is not generally known, but the poppies are coming into favor for
cut flowers in spite of the fact that they do not keep very well.
Miss Edith Granger avoids this difficulty, as she explains in the
_Garden Magazine,_ "by picking off all blooms that have not already
lost their petals in the evening, so that in the morning all the
open flowers will be new ones. These are cut as early as possible,
even while the dew is still upon them, and plunged immediately into
deep water."

You need not be discouraged by the low prices at which flowers,
especially violets and roses, are often offered in the streets.
Those flowers are the discarded stock or delayed shipments of the
swell florists. You will find that those flowers are fading, or
revived with salt, and will not keep.

That they are so peddled, shows that everybody, at hotels, dinners,
funerals, weddings, in the home, and the young men for the young
women, want flowers, the loveliest things ever made without souls.
We have only to supply such a want to find our place in life.

As a side line the common flowers will bring good prices;
mignonette, bachelor buttons, cosmos, and even nasturtiums, which
you can't keep from growing if you just stick the seed in the
ground, or lilies of the valley, which you can hardly get rid of
once they start, never go begging, if they are fresh.

A favorite flower with many is the sweet pea, which can be grown out
of doors in the summer time where you have a good depth and quality
of soil.

I have seen May blossoms and autumn leaves on the branch and even
goldenrod brought into town and sold at good prices.

Enterprises often look attractive at a distance; for instance,
raising orchids, especially as some of the flowers remain on the
plants ready for market for weeks and bring high prices. But to ship
flowers at a profit they must be in quantities, else the expenses
eat up the returns, and they must be shipped with considerable
regularity, else you lose your customers. To get such a supply of
orchids would take a very large capital and involve so much labor
that it is doubtful if more than good interest could be realized on
it.

Many florists make money by keeping constantly on hand ferns, palms,
and other plants like rubber trees, which they rent out for social
functions, weddings, and other occasions. Most florists in the
larger cities have also quite a thriving business in tree planting,
which is everywhere on the increase. A highly specialized department
of horticulture is that of raising young trees and plants to sell
for improving grounds, planting orchards, or similar uses. The
nursery business bears much the same relation to the commercial
florist or orchardist as seed growing does to the market gardener.

Certain communities, through favorable soil or climate, are best
adapted to the production of nursery stock. Consequently, one finds
this industry most highly developed in scattered localities. It is
true that people with small capital should not tackle a business so
technical as this.

The business of bulb production is another highly specialized
department. In certain sections of Holland large areas of the rich
lowlands are given over to bulbs of various kinds of lilies, nearly
all of which are propagated in that manner. To attain perfection, at
least in the North, most bulbs require deep, rich, warm, and highly
manured soils; and assiduous attention at every stage. In many plant
specialties, the gardeners of Europe still far surpass our own,
because conditions there have forced them to make use of every
available means to increase production. The immense price that
European gardeners have to pay for land has been a most potent
factor in forcing them to seek out and apply the most ingenious
forcing methods. The time is upon us here in America also when we
must find out the highest use of land and apply it to that use.

As the aesthetic qualities of our people become more highly
developed, the business of raising flowers must become of increasing
importance, and will readily reward any one who goes into it
conscientiously. Flower growing is peculiarly adapted to women,
since the work is light There are few disagreeable features, unless
it be the handling of the manure incidental to the best results.

Still, the enjoyments of agriculture depend upon individual tastes.
I have seen "lady gardeners" picking strawberries with the footman
holding up an umbrella to screen them from the sun.

Some women would like that, some not.






CHAPTER XV

DRUG PLANTS





A source of profit from land to which little attention has been
given in the United States is collecting or raising plants, some
part of which may be used for medicinal purposes. We condense from
Farmers' Bulletin No. 188, United States Department of Agriculture:

Certain well-known weeds are sources of crude drugs at present
obtained wholly or in part from abroad. Roots, leaves, and flowers
of several of the species most detrimental in the United States are
gathered, cured, and used in Europe, and supply much of the demands
of foreign lands. Some of these plants are in many states subject to
anti-weed laws, and farmers are required to take measures toward
their extermination.

The prices paid for crude drugs from these sources save in war time
are not great and would rarely tempt any one to this work as a
business. Yet if in ridding the farm of weeds and thus raising the
value of the land the farmer can at the same time make these pests
the source of a small income instead of a dead loss, something is
gained.

One rather alluring fact contained in an article by Dr. True, is
that a shortage has become keenly felt in "Golden Seal," which the
early American settlers learned from the Indians to use as a
curative for sore and inflamed eyes, as well as for sore mouth. The
plant grows in patches in high open woods, and was formerly found in
great abundance in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and West Virginia, but
is now so rare that its price has risen from thirty-five cents
wholesale in 1898 to over seventy-five cents a pound. Persons in
different parts of the country have undertaken the production of
Golden Seal on a commercial scale. More than six hundred dollars'
worth can be grown on an acre: so a crop this year would be a
fortune. The methods of raising it can be ascertained upon
application to the Department of Agriculture.

Ginseng is one of the drug crops which paid handsome returns a few
years ago, perhaps because it takes from five to seven years to grow
from seeds; but so many went into that line that few men to-day make
anything at it. Furthermore, the Chinese, who use a large part of
it, will buy only the wild roots--and they know the difference.
Those who control the trade have burned quantities in the effort to
keep up the price.

There are some drug plants which might be raised with success by
those who would specialize in one plant, but the lesson we learn
from ginseng should act as a warning.

Raising drugs is one of those things that seems to be more
profitable to teach others to do than to do yourself. A well known
Professor said to me: "If I were twenty-five and knew what I know
about drugs and the market for them, I should go into the
drug-raising business. But I should expect to lose money for some
years. If I were a small clerk, say, or an old man who wanted to get
out of city life, and I had $500 I really wanted to venture in drug
raising, I should divide it in half--half I should put in the bank
and the other half I should throw into the Hudson River. Then I
should be sure of $250 instead of being drawn on to spend it all."

"Most of the people who have been in the business, notably the
Shakers, who used to do the most of it, are gradually getting out of
it. The few men who make money raising drugs keep it to themselves."

In many cases when weeds have been dug the work of handling and
curing them is not excessive and can readily be done by women and
children.

Too much emphasis cannot be placed upon the importance of carefully
and thoroughly drying all crude drugs, whether roots, herbs, leaves,
barks, flowers, or seeds, and putting them under cover at nightfall.
If poorly dried, they will heat and become moldy in shipping, and
the collector will find his goods rejected by the dealer and have
all his trouble for nothing. Leaves, herbs, and flowers should never
be washed.

It is important also to collect in proper season only, as drugs
collected out of season are unmarketable on account of inferior
medicinal qualities, and there will also be a greater shrinkage in a
root dug during the growing season than when it is collected after
growth has ceased.

The roots of annual plants should be dug in the autumn of the first
year just before the flowering period, and those of biennial and
perennial plants in the fall of the second or third year, after the
tops have dried.

After the roots have been dug the soil should be well shaken from
them, and all foreign particles, such as dirt, roots, and parts of
other plants, should be removed. If the roots cannot be sufficiently
cleared of soil by shaking, they should be thoroughly washed in
clean water. Drugs must look wholesome at least. It does not pay to
be careless in this matter. The soil increases the weight of the
roots, but the purchaser is not willing to pay by weight for dirt,
and grades the uncleaned or mixed drugs accordingly. It is the
bright, natural looking root, leaf, or plant that will bring a good
price.

After washing, the roots should be carefully dried by exposing them
to light and air, on racks or shelves, or on clean well-ventilated
barn floors, or lofts. They should be spread out thinly and turned
occasionally from day to day until completely cured. When this point
is reached, in perhaps three to six weeks, the roots will snap
readily when bent. If dried out of doors they should be placed under
shelter at night and upon the approach of rain.

Some roots require slicing and removing fibrous rootless. In
general, large roots should be split or sliced when green in order
to facilitate drying.

Barks of trees should be gathered in spring, when the sap begins to
flow, but may also be peeled in winter. In the case of the coarser
barks (as elm, hemlock, poplar, oak, pine, and wild cherry) the
outer layer is shaved off before the bark is removed from the tree,
which process is known as "rossing." Only the inner bark of these
trees is used medicinally. Barks may also be cured by exposure to
sunlight, but moisture must be avoided.

Leaves and herbs should be collected when the plants are in full
flower. The whole plant may be cut and the leaves may be stripped
from it, rejecting the coarse and large stems as much as possible,
and keeping only the flowering tops and more tender stems and
leaves.

Both leaves and herbs should be spread out in thin layers on clean
floors, racks, or shelves, in the shade, but where there is free
circulation of air, and turned frequently until thoroughly dry.
Moisture will darken them.

Flowers are collected when they first open or immediately after, not
when they are beginning to fade. Seeds should be gathered just as
they are ripening, before the seed pods open, and should be winnowed
in order to remove fragments of stems, leaves, and shriveled
specimens.

The collector should be sure that the plant is the right one. Many
plants closely resemble one another, and some "yarbs," contrary to
the popular impression, are deadly poison--nightshade (belladonna)
and the wild variety of parsnips, for instance. Therefore, where any
doubt exists, send a specimen of the entire plant, including leaves,
flowers, and fruits, to a drug dealer or to the nearest state
experiment station for identification.

Samples representative of the lot of drugs to be sold should be sent
to the nearest commission merchant, or drug store, for inspection
and for quotation on the amount of drug that can be furnished, or
for information as to where to send the article.

In writing to the different dealers for information and for prices,
which vary greatly, it should be stated how much of a particular
drug can be furnished and how soon this can be supplied, and postage
should always be inclosed for reply. The collector should bear in
mind that freight is an important item, and it is best, therefore,
to address the dealers accessible to the place of production. The
package containing the sample should be plainly marked with contents
and the name and address of the sender. When ready for shipment
crude drugs may be tightly packed in burlap or gunny sacks, or in
dry, clean barrels.

Burdock root brings from three to eight cents per pound, and seed
five to ten cents. About fifty thousand pounds of the root is
imported annually, and the best has come from Belgium. Of dock
roots, about 125,000 pounds are imported annually, at from two to
eight cents.

The field for the sale of dandelion root is large.

Of couch grass, the roots of which cause much profanity in this
country, there are some 250,000 pounds annually imported at from
three to seven cents per pound.

A common weed with which there is a considerable trouble is the
pokeweed, the root of which brings from two to five cents per pound
and the dried berries five cents per pound.

Forty to sixty thousand pounds of foxglove are imported from Europe.
Analysis has shown that the leaves of the wild American foxglove are
as good as the European article, the price of which per pound ranges
from six to eight cents.

Of mullein flowers about five thousand pounds used to be imported,
chiefly from Germany. The leaves are also imported.

Dried leaves and tops of lobelia bring from three to eight cents per
pound, while the seed commands fifteen to twenty cents per pound.

Of tansy about thirty-five thousand pounds have been imported
annually at a price rallying from three to six cents.

The flowering tops and leaves of the gum plant are used as drug.
They bring from five to twelve cents per pound.

Boneset leaves and tops bring from two to eight cents per pound.
Catnip tops and leaves two to eight cents per pound.

Of horehound about 125,000 pounds are imported annually, prices
being three to eight cents per pound.

Blessed thistle is cultivated in Germany, and it is imported to a
limited extent.

Yarrow is a weed common from the New England states to Missouri. It
is imported in small quantities, and brings from two to five cents
per pound.

Canada fleabane brings from six to eight cents per pound. Of
jimsonweed, leaves are imported, from 100,000 to 150,000 pounds
annually, and 10,000 pounds of seed. Leaves bring two and one half
to eight cents per pound, and seeds from three to seven cents per
pound.

Of poison hemlock, seeds are imported from ten to twenty thousand
pounds annually. Price for the seed is three cents per pound, for
the leaves about four cents. The flowers are also used.

The American wormseed has been naturalized from tropical America to
New England; the seed commands from six to eight cents per pound;
the oil distilled from this seed brings one dollar and a half per
pound.

Black mustard, which is a troublesome weed in almost every state in
the Union, is nevertheless imported in enormous quantities, the
total imports of the seeds of the black and white mustard amounting
annually to over five million pounds, the prices being from three to
six cents per pound. All these prices and quantities were before the
war and may greatly change after it.

In studying the wild drug plants, one may learn the immense variety
of field salads and greens. On a visit to the Spirit Fruit Society
at Ingleside, Illinois, one of the girls took me out to gather wild
vegetables for dinner. We pulled up about a dozen varieties out of
the corners of a field; two or three of the nice looking ones that I
gathered the young lady threw out, saying she did not know them; but
it seemed to me that she took almost anything that was not too
tough. The following are commonly used as salads: Dandelion, yellow
racket, purslane (pusley), watercress, nasturtium; and the following
as greens for cooking: narrow or sour dock, stinging nettle,
pokeweed, pigweed or lamb's quarters, black mustard. Young milkweed
is better than spinach, and also makes an excellent salad. Probably
all the salad leaves could be cooked to advantage. Rhubarb leaves
and horseradish tops are garden greens usually neglected most
unfairly

Osage Orange _(maclura aurantiaca) _s generally supposed to be
poison, and is described in Webster's dictionary as "a hard and
inedible fruit," but I have found one kind, at least, superior to
quinces.

Capsicum or red pepper, licorice (the imports of which have all been
in the hands of one person), camphor, belladonna, henbane, and
stramonium are possible fields for culture; but they are all
experiments.

If you are growing poppies for the flowers it might be worth while
to gather some opium, especially if the new process succeeds in
separating morphine directly from the plant.

Caraway seeds, anise, coreander, and sage are common garden plants
that may be sold as drugs.






CHAPTER XVI

NOVEL LIVE STOCK





Occasionally we hear stories of the wealth which is being made on a
frog farm here or there. But as a rule little commercial success has
attended attempts in this direction.

The difficulty lies in feeding them. A single frog can be fed by
dangling a piece of meat before it, but it would be impossible to
feed thousands this way. There are so many enemies that few tadpoles
become adult frogs; besides, the frog is a cannibal and will eat not
only the larvae or eggs, but the tadpoles and young frogs as well.

Frog culture is successful in some places where ponds are large
enough to be partitioned, separating the tadpoles and young frogs
from the old ones, and where insects are abundant enough to supply
food naturally for them. Near San Francisco there are a number of
frog ranches. Even in 1903, according to Mary Heard in _Out West,
_one ranch sold to San Francisco markets 2600 dozen frogs' legs,
netting $1800. This was considered poor. Frogs' legs are sold to
hotels and restaurants, and bring in New York, according to size and
season, from fifty cents to a dollar a pound.

Tons of frogs come to New York markets each year from Canada,
Michigan, and from the South and West. Few people outside of the
cities eat them. The United States Fish Commissioners reported the
product in one year: Arkansas, 58,800 lb., valued at $4162; Indiana,
24,000 lb., valued at $5026; Ohio, 14,000 lb., valued at $2340;
Vermont, 5500 lb., valued at $825, etc.--a total of $22,953.

The enormous and increasing prices of large diamond backed turtles,
and the cheapness of little ones shows that maturing, at least, if
not actually breeding them, would be well worth investigation. Many
wealthy New Yorkers send direct to Maryland for their supplies.
Where turtle meat is bottled or canned, the snapping turtle and the
common box tortoise are sometimes used as "substitutes." Both are
capital eating.

The carp is one of the most excellent fresh water fish, and is of
great value on account of the facility of culture and the enormous
extent to which this is carried on. "In Europe some artificial ponds
comprise an area of no less than 20,000 acres, and the proceeds
amount to about 500,000 pounds of carp per annum." (Hessel, in "Carp
and Its Culture.")

It attains the weight of three to four pounds in three years without
artificial feeding, and much more under more favorable conditions.
It lives to a great age and continues to grow all the while.

"In Europe it is common to see carp weighing from thirty to forty
pounds and more, measuring nearly three and one half feet in length
and two and three quarters feet in circumference."

It lives on vegetable food, insects, larvae, and worms, and will not
attack other fishes or their spawn. It is easy to raise, and,
provided certain general rules are followed, success will attend its
culture.

The localities best adapted to a carp pond are those in which there
is sufficient water at hand for the summer as well as the winter. A
mud or loam soil is best adapted for such a pond. A rocky, gravelly
ground is not suited for carp; the water should be the same depth
all the year, as variation has an injurious effect on the fish.

Carp spawn in the spring. In stocking a pond three females are
calculated to two males. The females lay a great number of eggs, but
only a small number are impregnated. The most liberal estimate will
not exceed from 800 to 1000 to one spawner, the aggregate per acre
amounting to from 4000 to 5000.

The large cities containing large numbers of Europeans furnish the
principal markets for carp. The Jewish people will not, as a rule,
buy carp unless they are alive, so it is not an uncommon thing to
see fish dealers in the Hebrew quarters pushing through the streets
carts constructed as tanks and peddling the carp alive.

Some years ago carp ponds were quite a fad among farmers of the
Central West. Americans have been slow to adopt the German carp as a
food fish.

Trout, of course, can be raised, and the high prices which they
bring, both in market and for fishing privileges, make them very
attractive; but the cold running water needed makes opportunity for
breeding them with access to a good market generally unavailable to
owners of five acres.

There is another fish, famous for its eating qualities, which well
repays effort put upon its production. I refer to the black bass. It
is indigenous to the waters of the Eastern states, where it is
usually found in creeks or rivers. It can be successfully bred in
properly constructed ponds.

Mr. Dwight Lyell, in Forest and Stream, has this to say about a
breeding place for the small-mouthed black bass. "The pond should be
six feet deep in the center and two feet around the edge; the bottom
should be of natural sand; water plants should be growing in
profusion, particularly such aquatic plants as the Daphnia, Bosmina,
and the Corix, to furnish food for the young bass. A good size for a
breeding pond is 100 X 100 feet." For spawning, artificial nest
frames are built in rectangular form. They are made two feet square
without bottoms. On two adjoining sides these frames are four inches
high and on the other two adjoining sides sixteen inches high. These
frames are made because the bass needs a barrier behind which the
spawning may be done and which will protect the nest when made. For
raising the fish to a size large enough for food, ponds can be of
any convenient size. In order to keep the water in healthful
condition the pond must be fed by a flowing brook with some
provision to prevent the water being disturbed by freshets. This can
usually be arranged by a sluice to carry off the surplus water
during heavy rains. Black bass raised in shallow ponds will take the
fly all summer, so that considerable may be made from fishing
privileges.

In the absence of minnows, which are the food of the bass, they must
be fed on fresh liver cut in threads like an angle worm to tempt the
fish. Even then the liver diet must be varied by feeding minnows
from September until the bass goes into winter quarters. In no other
way can fertile eggs be assured for the spring hatching. Minnows
left in the pond all winter will breed and so furnish fry on which
the young bass can feed tile next summer."

What has been said refers particularly to the small-mouthed black
bass. The conditions are substantially the same for the
large-mouthed bass (which grows to a much larger size), except that
the bottom may be made of Spanish moss imbedded in cement.

There is a growing market for the young bass or fingerlings to stock
streams and ponds. The relation between the producer of stock fish
and those who expect to raise bass of a marketable size is about the
same as exists between the professional seed grower and the market
gardener. It is much better for the small farmer who has or can make
an artificial pond to buy his fingerlings from the professional
breeder, who has facilities which are too elaborate to be duplicated
on a small scale.

Fish culture, except under government auspices, is little known in
the United States.

_American Homes and Gardens _has an account of the breeding of
pheasants, which is of interest. That it is possible to breed
pheasants, even around an ordinary suburban home, is shown by Mr.
Homer Davenport, the famous cartoonist, who succeeded in breeding
and raising some of the choicest pheasants on his place at Morris
Plains, New Jersey.

A great variety of species are commonly bred, but all of them came
from China or India. The pheasant can be tamed by careful handling,
but cats and dogs and other small animals must be kept away. The
pheasantry should be placed on high, well-drained ground with a
southern exposure, where the soil is good enough to raise clover,
oats, and barley. The quarters for pheasants and the management are
very much like those for fancy chickens. The yard should be inclosed
by wire netting both on sides and top to keep the birds from
wandering away; and there should be houses for roosting and breeding
with nesting quarters attached.

In Central Park, New York, the running space allotted to three or
four birds is not more than ten by twenty feet, and Mr. George
Ethelbert Walsh tells of a case where sixty pheasants were kept in
excellent condition in a house ten by fifty feet, with five yards
attached, averaging 10 X 25 feet. However, with pheasants, as with
all the bird family, especially turkeys, the more ground they have
for ranging the less liable they will be to disease. The chief
difficulty in breeding game birds like the pheasant is to secure the
insects, such as flies, maggots, and ant eggs, which are the natural
food of the young. Sufficient green food like lettuce, turnip tops,
cabbage, etc., must also be provided. There is always a market at
fancy prices for more of the matured birds than can possibly be
supplied.

Some people make money in breeding or training fancy birds like
canaries, mocking birds, finches, parrots, and so on; but this
industry can be carried on almost as well in rooms in the city as in
the country. Specializing on any kind of animal rearing must be gone
into with extreme caution, because in the breeding of animals there
are many factors to be dealt with which do not confront the breeder
of plants. Make haste slowly, and before branching out be sure that
you master each step in its turn.

An industry which is practically unknown in this country, but which
flourishes in Burgundy, France, is the raising of snails for food.
Those who are shocked by this will he surprised to learn that snail
culture was practiced by the Romans at the time of the Civil War
between Caesar and Pompey, as Jacques Boyer says in_ American Homes
and Gardens. _The snail lays from fifty to sixty eggs annually. They
are deposited in a smooth hole prepared for them in the ground and
hatched within twenty days. So rapidly do they grow that they are
ready for market six or eight weeks after hatching. The snail park
is made by inclosing a plot of damp, limy soil with smooth boards
coated with tar to prevent the snails climbing out, and held in
place by outside stakes strong enough to withstand the wind. The
boards must penetrate the soil to the depth of eight inches at
least, and at a level with the ground they must have a sort of shelf
to prevent the snails from burrowing under them. When the snail
encounters an obstacle in its path, it lays its eggs, sensible
beast. Ten thousand snails can be raised on a plot of land one
hundred by two hundred feet. The ground is plowed deeply in the
spring, the snails are placed on it and covered with from two to
four inches of moss or straw which is kept damp. They must be fed
daily with lettuce, cabbage, vine leaves, or grass; as they eat at
night, they are fed shortly before sunset. Aromatic herbs, like
mint, parsley, etc., are planted in the inclosure to improve the
flavor of the snails.

In October, the snails having become fat through the summer, retire
into their shells, the mouths of which they close with a thin
gelatinous covering. They are now ready for picking, and are put on
screens or trays which are piled together in storehouses, where they
remain several months without food. When the fast has been
sufficiently prolonged, the shells are brushed up and the snails
cooked in salt water in a great pot holding about ten thousand. When
cooked, they are immediately sent to the consumer in wooden boxes
holding from fifty to two hundred. The business is a very profitable
one, as the snail is considered a great delicacy by epicures.

Perhaps the silkworm is not exactly in place in a chapter on Novel
Live Stock. It is at present not much more than an interesting
experiment, but there will be money in silkworm culture as soon as a
market for the product is developed. The main difficulty is lack of
food, as the worm thrives best on the leaf of the white mulberry
tree. Until a substitute is found, it will be necessary therefore to
set out young trees, which in two years will bear enough leaves to
supply food. The labor of silkworm rearing all comes in one month.
It can be carried on in any large, airy room The eggs are hatched by
the summer heat, and the worm does not become a heavy eater until
the last two weeks. It sheds its skin four times, and after the
final moult it climbs into loose brush prepared for it and spins the
cocoon. These are then dried and shipped.

At the South, where the climate is well suited for silk culture, an
obstacle has been found in the unadaptability of the cheap labor,
particularly colored labor, to the delicate handling, and especially
winding of the silk from the cocoons.

Many people make money by breeding dogs. Not much land is required
and very little capital, as kennels can be multiplied as demand
increases. There is always a profitable market for dogs, and some of
the lap species, like the King Charles spaniel, bring fabulous
prices. Hunting dogs, such as setters, pointers, retrievers, really
require a game country and a practical hunter who can train the
puppies, to make much of a success of it; with these, if properly
handled, the business is a safe one, as there is little other
technical skill required beyond ordinary care, such as is given to
domestic animals.

Cats are a better venture than dogs because they are sold to women
who will pay any price for what strikes their fancy. Fashions in
cats change about as fast as fashions in coats, but cats breed
faster than coats wear out, so it is quick business.

Just now, coon cats, tortoise-shell cats, and bizarre colors of
Persian cats are mostly in vogue, but the tailless Manx cat, and
even freaks like the six-toed cat and Iynx cats always find a ready
market.

Of course, these can be raised in the city, but if it is done in a
large enough way to make a living out of it, the Board of Health and
the neighbors will raise--something else.

Fishing and hunting are primitive industries of which we think only
in connection with wild land. But every bay and pond and wood will
supply at least some subsistence or profit to the intelligent
seeker.

Oysters, clams, crabs, mussels, frogs, and common fish are found in
abundance in many places, and help out with table expenses. Even
English sparrows are delicious.

Almost any wild animal is much more wholesome to eat than pork.
Squirrels and even weasels are cleaner feeders than pigs, and the
Indians eat them with great relish, while everybody knows the
keenness of the darkies for "coon." Most snakes are better eating
than eels and not near so repulsive--when you get used to them.

The woodchuck is a nuisance to the farmer, covering his field with
loads of subsoil from the burrow and then eating the tender sprouts;
and the farmer does not know enough to eat his tender corpse, but he
is good to eat. If a rabbit and a chicken could have young, it would
taste like a woodchuck

Muskrats, mink, raccoons, and gray and fox squirrels are easily
trapped; and the skins of those killed in that way find a steady
market. Skins of poisoned animals do not sell so well, as they are
rough and dry.

In order to be profitable, these do not need to pay very well in
proportion to the time they take, since they are hunted as
recreation and at odd times.

But there is a larger field in raising wild animals, which our
Western people have not been slow to avail themselves of, and we
hear of men being prosecuted for breeding wolves, coyotes, and
bobcats, a kind of lynx, to get the government bounty for the snouts
or scalps.

In a legitimate way profit may be had from such animals.

Ernest Thompson Seton has an article in _Country Life in America,
_on raising fur-bearing animals for profit; this offers a good
chance for small capital and large intelligence. He suggests the
beaver, mink, otter, skunk, and marten, and says that whoever would
begin fur farming is better off with five acres than with five
hundred. He describes two fox ranches at Dover, Maine. They raise
twenty to forty silver foxes a year, on a little more than half an
acre of land. The silver fox's fur is one of the most valuable on
the market and sells at an average of $150 a pelt, that is, $3000 to
$6000 gross for the year's work. Foxes are not expensive to breed,
their food consisting chiefly of sour milk and cornmeal or flour
made into a cake, and a little meat about once a week.

The capital required is small. A fence for the inclosure should be
of one and a half inch mesh No. 16 galvanized wire, ten feet high,
with an overhang of eighteen inches to keep the foxes from escaping,
and is about the only outlay except for purchase of stock.

Stakes should be driven close to the fence to keep them from
burrowing out.

They are naturally clean animals, and with careful attention are
free from disease. Mr. Stevens reports that in his two years'
experience he has had twenty to thirty foxes and lost none by
disease, while Mr. Norton, with five years' experience, carrying
thirty to forty, reports that one to two die each year.

They breed as well in captivity as in their wild state, usually
bringing forth a litter of six or seven in the spring. These breed
the following spring and their fur is ready for market the following
December. And now breeders sell fine stock to other breeders who are
entering the industry, sometimes getting three to four hundred
dollars per pair. Mr. Seton remarks, "I am satisfied that any man
who has made a success of hens can make a success of foxes, with
this advantage for the latter a fox requires no more space or care
than a hen, but is worth twenty times as much, and so gives a chance
for returns twenty times as large."

This is an infant industry, but if others can get the same results,
it will pay handsomely. To get the best furs, however, requires a
district where the winters are cold and long.

There are a few skunk farms in the West. It is said that the scent
gland can be taken out, though that is not necessary, and that the
farms do well. Their oil is also said to be valuable. But while
skunks are so common there cannot be much in breeding them.

If your fancy goes to "critters" rather than crops it is much better
to raise game birds. Wild turkeys raised under a hen or in an
incubator and made pretty tame (if too tame they do not thrive so
well in a small area), "wild" ducks, grouse, partridges, quails,
even wood ducks which build their nests in trees are no longer
experiments.

All the common enemies you have to contend against are foxes, dogs,
cats, rats, mink, skunks, hawks, owls, crows, frogs, turtles,
snakes, poachers, game legislators, and disease.

It has been calculated that one pair of quails and its
progeny would produce five or six million birds in eight years if
there were no losses. But so would chickens; and probably you will
not get that many.

All about these game birds is set forth in an advertising booklet
called, "Game Farming" of the Hercules Powder Co., which has offices
in a dozen cities, so we need not enlarge.






CHAPTER XVII

WHERE TO GO





Intensive cultivation, raising a big crop on little land, can be
carried on most profitably near areas of dense population; for
perishable products, like fruits and vegetables, can be best
marketed near the consumer. The limit for delivery by auto is about
fifteen to twenty miles, and then only if roads are good; if the
land selected lies on the line of a railroad which gives equal terms
to way freight and to through freight, you will fare nearly as well.
Railroads control agricultural development. Sparsely settled regions
always practice extensive cultivation, raising light crops on big
farms, because only such crops can be grown as can be raised on
large areas by machinery, and are not perishable. Staples like corn,
wheat, pork, and beef are transported at low prices for long
distances by the railroads. This forces the settlers in newly opened
portions of the country to sell in a market created by the
railroads, in competition with what is produced within the areas of
intensive cultivation, that is, with access to adjacent markets.

So we find the bonanza wheat farms of California, the Dakotas, and
the Canadian Northwest, the pampas of the Argentine, the Steppes of
Russia, and the Indian uplands devoted to wheat raising; in the
United States corn belt, fields of from five to twenty thousand
acres are still not uncommon. Conversely, intensive cultivation is
most advanced in China, where a dense population forced the people
long ago to bring into use every foot of tillable soil that is left
open to them.

Near the towns of the United States a few market gardeners supply
such vegetables as the people do not raise for themselves. The
states along the Atlantic seaboard have all the facilities for
successful intensive cultivation--a dense population and idle,
cultivable land. In choosing a location, the home crofter should
well consider his experience, and try to enter a community where he
can engage in analogous pursuits. Dairy regions never have enough
men who understand cattle and horses; fruit-growing districts always
need experienced pickers; market garden regions need men who
understand rotating crops and making hotbeds, transplanting, etc.

If you have a little money, you can probably do best by buying and
draining some swamp land, which is the most productive of all, as it
contains the washings of the upland for centuries. Swamp land can
usually be cleared and drained for from thirty to forty dollars per
acre. It can be bought very cheap and when ready to cultivate will
have increased many times in value.

The next best is the "abandoned" or worn-out farm. Proper methods of
cultivation will bring it back to more than its original fertility.
The Eastern states from Maine to Virginia abound with them at from
five to twenty-five dollars per acre. In many cases the buildings
are worth more than the whole price asked.

The nearest land easily available in the East is in the state of New
York. The writer believes it is true that "there are twenty thousand
farms for sale in this state, and nearly, all at such low prices and
upon such favorable terms as to make them available for any one
desiring to engage in agriculture or have a farm home. The soil of
these farms is not exhausted, but on the contrary is, with proper
cultivation, very productive. Nearly all have good buildings and
fences, are supplied with good water and plenty of wood for farm
purposes, and in nearly all cases have apple and other fruit trees
upon them." (List of Farms, occupied and unoccupied, for sale in New
York State. Bureau of Information and Statistics, Bulletin, State of
New York, Department of Agriculture.)

These farms are distributed all over the state, some in nearly every
county. In Sullivan County, for example, there are farms for sale
ranging in price from ten to one hundred dollars per acre. These
can, almost without exception, be bought by small payments, balance
on long mortgages, and it is wonderful how cheap they are. In Ulster
County thirty farms, some of which I have seen, are offered for sale
at trifling prices.

Of course, many of these farms have been sold since the first
editions of this book, and the prices have advanced, perhaps on the
average doubled; but cheap automobiles have improved roads and have
made others available that were useless ten years ago. The
development of the Southern states, with eradication of the cattle
tick (the cause of "Texas Fever") and irrigation and rotation of
crops, has opened up new countries. N. O. Nelson writes he has
bought many Louisiana farms for his cooperative enterprise for about
what the improvements are worth.

Cut over woodlands which we have learned to make produce incomes of
about five dollars each year per acre by intelligent forestry, as
well as swamp lands which we now know how to make healthful by
drainage and by the extinction of mosquitoes, can still be had at
low prices in New York and other states. Numerous others are in the
market from five dollars per acre up, and so it goes through the
state, from Wyoming County in the extreme western end, where farms
ranging from thirty to three hundred acres are in the market at from
thirty to forty dollars per acre, to St. Lawrence County in the
north, where land can be bought as low as fifteen dollars per acre.

When it is considered that these lands are within easy access to
established markets with transportation and mail facilities, rural
delivery, and telephone a proper idea may be formed of their value
in opportunity. The authority quoted further states that "probably
fifty thousand agricultural laborers can find employment on the
farms of New York at good wages. Families particularly are wanted to
rent houses and work farms on shares." Wages for new hands run from
twenty to thirty dollars and upwards per month with board. Men who
know how to milk are especially in demand throughout the dairy
regions. These conditions make it possible for experienced farmers,
although entirely without money, to get to the soil.

Over three hundred thousand aliens annually settled in the cities of
New York State during some years in the last decade. These people
could be got out of the cities, where in normal times they are
little needed, into adjacent country districts where they are much
needed.

In the _Real Estate Record and Guide, _Mr. A. L. Langdon says: "It
is most remarkable that there are on Long Island, within from
thirty-five to seventy miles of New York, thousands of acres of land
which have never been cultivated, which have for years produced
nothing but cordwood, and which the owners allow to be overrun with
fire almost every year. A large part of this land has soil two or
three feet deep underlaid with gravel. The best water in the world
is abundant and the climate is more equable than on the mainland,
and in each locality where any reasonable effort has been made to
cultivate the soil, it has produced plentifully of all fruits and
vegetables which can be grown in this latitude."

Long Island should produce all the fruit, vegetables, poultry, eggs,
and milk needed by its own residents, with a large surplus for the
city markets, instead of getting, as it does, a large part of its
supply of these things from the city.

When it is considered that about a quarter of a million acres of
this land so close to the city is now scrub oak and uncultivated
waste, and that there are about a million adult workers in the city,
the importance of the experiment is obvious; especially as we learn
from the United States census that over ten thousand of these
workers are already in agricultural pursuits within the city limits.

"Here midway on Long Island, and just beyond the limits for a man to
locate who expects to earn his living by daily work in the city, is
a territory about forty miles long and ten miles wide which by
intensive farming would yield a good living for more than two
hundred thousand inhabitants. In this agricultural section, a man of
small means who expects to live on the land the year round, should
purchase a plot not too small to produce enough to support himself
and family and a surplus to sell, not less than six acres. Probably
all men have more or less land hunger a desire to own land and it is
a worthy object to encourage to the extent of inducing a man to
purchase what he can pay for and be satisfied with, but it is a
shameful thing to induce a poor man, who has to earn his living in
New York, to buy on the installment plan a small lot so far from his
place of employment that he cannot live on it and travel to and from
his work every day, and where there is the strongest probability
that he will never make more than two or three payments, and will
consequently lose what he does pay." The writer hears of one plot
which was sold nineteen times and the contracts defaulted on after
payments, before any one took title.

If the seeker is not satisfied with the opportunities which the
state of New York offers, he may turn to New Jersey, equally
accessible and equally rich in chances.

New Jersey Year-Book: "There are in the southern part of the State
large tracts of land which are still uncleared, or covered with
brushwood, and which are adapted to tillage and capable of producing
large crops of small fruits and market garden vegetables. The wood
on them is mainly scrub oak, with some dwarfed pitch pine and yellow
pine, and hence they are called oak lands to distinguish them from
the more sandy lands and tracts on which the pitch pine grows almost
exclusively. The latter are known as pine lands. The total area of
cleared (farm) lands in the southern division of the State,
southeast of the marl belt, is about 450,000 acres. The pineland
belts have an aggregate area of 486,000 acres, making at least
800,000 acres accessible by railways from the large cities and also
near to tidewater navigation. The maps of the Geological Survey show
the location and the extent of these lands, their railway lines, and
their relation to the settlements already made and to the cities.

"The soils of these tracts are sandy and not naturally so rich and
fertile as the more heavy clay soils of the limestone, the red
shale, and the marl districts of the State, but they are not so
sandy and so coarse-grained as to be non-productive, like some of
the pineland areas. The latter are often deficient in plant food and
are deservedly characterized as pine barrens, being too poor for
farm purposes. The growth of oak and pine, as well as chemical
analyses, shows that the oak-land soils contain the elements of
plant production. They are not so well suited to pasturage or to
continuous cropping as naturally rich virgin soils; they are better
fitted for raising vegetables, melons, sweet potatoes, small fruits,
peaches, and pears than wheat, Indian corn, hay, and other staples.
The eminent superiority of this kind of farming in New Jersey over
the old routine of wheat, corn, hay, and potatoes is well known.
These South Jersey soils are easily cleared of brushwood or standing
timber, and of stumps, with a hand or horse-power puller which is a
cheap affair, and the wood is salable in all this part of the State
at remunerative prices, often bringing more than the original cost
of the land. The long working season and the short and mild winter
favor the arrangement of work, so that all is done with the least
outlay for help. They also favor the mosquitoes.

"The success of Hammonton, Egg Harbor City, Vineland, and other
places is notable, and equally good results are to be had at a
hundred or more places as well situated as they are. These lands are
sold at low figures, and the settler saves in capital and interest
account. Only the difficulty of getting money to help in building
interferes with rapid settlement.

"The West Jersey Railway, the Pennsylvania, and the Philadelphia and
Reading's Atlantic City Railroad, the Philadelphia and Seashore
Railway, the New Jersey Southern Railroad, and other branch roads
afford excellent facilities for access to New York, Philadelphia,
and the cities of the State. The Cohansey, Maurice, and Mullica
rivers head well up near the northwest limits of these lands, and
their navigable reaches run for miles across them. The waters of the
Delaware Bay and the ocean are within a few miles of a large part of
this oak-land domain.

"The advantages of an old settled and Eastern State, within easy
reach of these large markets, of land which is easily tilled and
generous and quick in its response to feeding, and at low prices,
make them equal to, if not better than, the rich prairie soils of a
new West, or the low prices and cheap lands of the abandoned
hillsides of New England."

Wages for unskilled farm labor are about the same as for New
York--twenty to twenty-five dollars per month. The canning and fruit
industries make room for a large number of people in the late summer
and fall, who may thus, by taking a temporary place, kind some
permanent location where they may improve their health and fortunes.

"Delaware also offers unequalled opportunities to immigrants. It is
ideally situated on the Atlantic Ocean and the Delaware Bay, and is
penetrated by numerous creeks and rivers.

"The railroad, steam, and electric facilities of the State are
developing steadily year by year, while every section of the State
possesses easily navigable streams, with vessels for carrying
freight and passengers.

"Over fifteen millions of people live within a radius of three
hundred miles; the large majority reside in cities and towns and
furnish the finest markets in the world. Within five hundred miles
are more than one third of the people of all North America.

"Wilmington is a city of seventy-five thousand people, is growing
rapidly, and is becoming a great manufacturing place.

"These people may be reached in one day by the luscious fruits that
grow in Delaware, and every one of them is perfectly happy when he
gets a Delaware peach. Many other Delaware products are as good as
the peaches.

"As cattle and wheat raising developed in the great West, Delaware
people thought that they were ruined. They did not change at once,
but slowly discovered that the light lands are wonderfully
productive of fruits and vegetables, and that they pay much better
than cattle and grain ever could. But these new methods have not
been adopted in all parts of the State, so that land neglected and
unprofitable is for sale. The tides of immigration have swept
westward and left Delaware untouched. Men, money, and enterprise are
needed.

" There are few unoccupied or 'abandoned' farms in Delaware." The
land is mostly held by descendants of the early settlers, who form a
species of landed aristocracy. Lately, owing to the younger members
of these families having become established in the newer states and
on account of the death or incapacity of the older members left in
possession, there has been a marked tendency to sell off these
farms. However, "a large proportion of the farms in Delaware are not
for sale at any price. Some of them have been in the same family for
generations, and if put on the market would sell for from one to two
hundred dollars per acre."

The soil is all the way from a heavy white oak clay, which is too
stiff and too sticky for most crops, to very light sand.

The heaviest clay is made lighter and more porous, and the lightest
sand is readily made retentive of moisture and extremely productive,
by plowing in different kinds of crops as green manure, such as cow
peas, soy beans, the vetches, etc.; crimson clover, winter oats,
rye, turnips, and numerous other crops may be sown in August or
later, and produce a fine crop for turning under early in the
spring. Crimson clover grows nearly all winter. Pure cold water is
reached at from twenty to fifty feet by dug or driven wells.

The climate is good; there are no cyclones. There is some damp
weather in winter, but there are no malignant fevers, and there is
little or no malaria, except in a few marshy places. There are some
mosquitoes and flies, but they are not especially troublesome, and
there are no poisonous reptiles.

The population is mostly native, five sixths white, one sixth
colored. The white population is almost entirely of Anglo Saxon
descent.

"Perfect titles may be secured, but all titles everywhere should
always be searched by a competent lawyer, the usual fee for which is
ten to twenty dollars.

"Farm hands receive from twenty to twenty-five dollars per month and
board, for a season of nine or ten months, sometimes for the whole
year. Day hands receive from seventy-five cents to two dollars per
day and board themselves."

Those who are tempted by the advertisements for fruitpickers should
beware. Delaware, like some other states, allows fees to constables
and to the "squires"--Justices of the Peace they would be
elsewhere--for arrests, and it is a common practice to advertise for
fruit pickers, then arrest them as tramps when they come, and the
next day release them on condition that they will leave the county
at once--and leave the trap open for the next comer.

Delaware peaches have made fortunes for many, but will make still
greater fortunes in the future for the owners of the land.

Pears, plums, grapes, watermelons, and cantaloupes thrive, and find
an ideal home, and small fruits all flourish. Sweet potatoes yield
bountifully and are of the finest quality. Asparagus and early white
potatoes pay handsome profits. Tomatoes, the great canning crop, are
grown by the thousands of acres.

"The grasses and clovers grow in luxuriance, and hence dairying and
beef production are profitable. Poultry pays as well as anywhere
else; chickens often run on green clover all through the open
winter.

"The game consists of various species of ducks, quails, reed birds,
hares, marsh rabbits, and other small creatures. Shad, trout,
herring, crocus, black bass, pike, white fish, rock fish, oysters,
clams, crabs, and terrapin are abundant in Delaware waters."

The tax in the rural counties is generally sixty cents on the
hundred dollars. Besides this there are taxes on business and a very
light school tax. There is no state tax, yet the state makes large
appropriations for the support of the public schools, which are free
to everybody.

Maryland has established a State Bureau of Immigration in Baltimore
to give information to home seekers, and advise them as to choice of
location, opportunities for getting started in agricultural
production, and aid them in any way consistent with a State Bureau.
Most of these facts are taken from such reports.

Southern Maryland and the eastern shore are especially adapted to
gardening and trucking, as well as fruit growing. Land is cheap and
can be purchased in tracts of any size from an acre upwards, at from
ten to fifty dollars per acre. Farms from twenty acres to seven
hundred acres and up are for sale in nearly every county in the
state. The removal of a large part of the negro population from the
country to the cities has resulted in the partition of the large
estates into smaller farms, thus affording an opportunity for home
seekers who are seeking cheap land amid congenial surroundings.
Nearly all of these farms have buildings, some in need of repair,
others in very good condition.

For those who wish to avoid the hard work of breaking woodlands, the
eastern and western shores offer abundant well-cultivated lands with
buildings, orchards, and woods, in the immediate vicinity of
navigable rivers and railways, on good roads at from twenty dollars
per acre upwards. That seems cheap.

For settlers who are accustomed to mountainous regions, western
Maryland has land for sale at even cheaper rates.

"There are many large tidal marshes in Maryland, as might be
expected in a territory watered like this state. They are of the
richest soil to be found, because the Chesapeake Bay is a great
river valley, receiving the drainage of a vast area of fertile land,
comprising nearly one third of New York and nearly all of the great
agricultural states of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. Every
year this drainage brings down a black sediment, called oyster mud,
which is deposited on the marshlands and enriches the soil, making
it, with proper cultivation, of productivity like that of the rice
and wheat fields of Egypt. These unreclaimed lands are used chiefly
for grain."

Proper drainage of small tracts of this land would bring unsurpassed
and absolutely untouched fertility.

The Chesapeake River valley is not so large as that of the Nile or
Ganges, but is of enough consequence to play an important part in
human affairs and to support in comfort and prosperity a population
as large as that of many famous states.

"The eastern shore is uniformly level, with good roads. The
proximity of the ocean and the bay greatly modifies the temperature.
It has a great trunk railway, with connections along its entire
length, called the Delaware Division of the Pennsylvania railroad,
which furnishes direct transportation to Philadelphia, New York, and
other northern cities."

"On the eastern shore there are many thousand acres of land devoted
to garden truck, and the strawberry crop has of late years become of
importance. Over one hundred carloads of strawberries are shipped
daily during the season to the Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York,
and Boston markets."

Land properly cultivated will yield four thousand quarts of
strawberries to an acre.

The canning of various fruits and vegetables has grown to be larger
than that of any other state and is one of the most profitable of
the industries of Maryland. The principal articles canned are
peaches, peas, and tomatoes.

The tomato crop is also profitable to the grower. The young plants
are set out in the spring; many do this with a machine, but two
persons can easily plant seven acres in a day by hand.

An acre will produce from six to eighteen tons of tomatoes,
according to the quality of the soil. All such products bring better
prices now in Maryland markets than they did before canning was
resorted to. The Maryland tin can is known wherever civilization
reaches.

Tobacco is extensively produced only in southern Maryland, although
it can be raised in any section of the state.

In the neighborhood of the larger cities trucking and fruit growing
are profitable, combined with poultry raising, often on farms of not
more than five or ten acres.

Many farmers devote part of their time successfully to bees, and
there is nowhere a better climate for flowrs than that of Maryland.
Two English florists who have settled in Baltimore County, ten and
thirteen miles northeast of the city, daily send to all parts of the
United States and even to Canada many large boxes of beautiful
roses, carnations, violets, and other choice flowers. Both of these
men began on a small scale and have prospered.

The farmer who has a couple of thousand dollars to pay cash for a
small farm in Maryland is assured of a good living. But also a less
favored settler, if he has only from four to eight hundred dollars,
can have a good start in Maryland, and probably as good a chance for
independence and prosperity as anywhere.

Families of immigrants when traveling to the Western, Northwestern,
and Southern states of America have to spend from one hundred and
fifty to two hundred dollars for railroad tickets from New York to
their destination; by going to these adjoining states they can save
all that money, and invest it in land.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Immigration also
publishes information for the home seeker.

To most people the name Virginia carries with it limitless vistas of
tobacco fields covered with darkies plying the hoe, or picking off
the ubiquitous worm. Before the War this picture would have been a
true one; but since the awakening of the younger generation to a
better understanding of her resources, together with the withdrawal
of large numbers of the colored people into industrial occupations,
no state offers more attractive inducements to the homecrofter than
Virginia. In climate, diversity of soils, fruits, forests, water
supply, mineral deposits, including mountain and valley, she offers
unsurpassed advantages. Truly did Captain John Smith, the
adventurous father of Virginia, suggest that "Heaven and earth never
agreed better to frame a place for man's habitation."

Virginia lies between the extremes of heat and cold, removed alike
from the sultry, protracted summers of the more southern states, and
the longer winters and devastating storm and cyclones of the North
and Northwest. Its limits north and south correspond to California
and southern Europe.

The climate is mild and healthful. The winters are less severe than
in the Northern and Northwestern states, or even the western
localities of the same latitude, while the occasional periods of
extreme heat in the summer are not more oppressive than in many
portions of the North.

Tidewater Virginia, or the Coastal Plain, as it is sometimes called,
receives the name from the fact that the streams that penetrate it
feel the ebb and flow of the tides from the ocean up to the head of
navigation. It consists chiefly of broad and level plains, while a
considerable portion, nearest to the bay, has shallow bays and
estuaries, and marshes that are in most instances reached only by
the ocean tides. These marshes abound with wild duck and sora.
Tidewater is mainly an alluvial country. The soil is chiefly light,
sandy loam, underlaid with clay. Its principal productions are
fruits and early vegetables, which are raised in extensive "market
gardens," and shipped in large quantities to Northern cities. The
fertilizing minerals--gypsum, marl, and greensand--abound, and their
judicious use readily restores the lands when exhausted by
improvident cultivation.

Middle Virginia is a wide, undulating plain, crossed by many rivers
that have cut their channels to a considerable depth and are
bordered by alluvial bottom lands that are very productive. The soil
consists of clays with a subsoil of disintegrated sandstone rocks,
and varies according to the nature of the rock from which it is
formed.

The principal productions of middle Virginia are corn, wheat, oats,
and tobacco. The tobacco raised in this section and in Piedmont,
known as the "Virginia Leaf," is the best grown and the best known
in the United States. In this section, as in Tidewater, the low
bottom lands formed by the sediment of the waters are exceptionally
productive.

The Piedmont section is diversified and surpassingly picturesque.
The soil is heavier than that of middle Virginia, the subsoil being
of stiff and dark red clay. On the slopes of the Blue Ridge grapes
of delicious flavor grow luxuriantly. These produce excellent wines,
and the clarets have a wide fame. The pippin apples of this section
are of unrivaled excellence.

The "Great Valley," as it is descriptively called, is in the general
configuration one continuous valley, included between the two
mountain chains that extend throughout the state; it is one of the
most abundantly watered regions on the face of the globe. Deep
limestone beds form the floor of the Great Valley, and from these
beds the soil derives an exceeding fertility, peculiarly adapted to
the growth of grasses and grain, and it bears the name of the
"garden spot" of the state.

Five trunk lines of railroads penetrate and intersect the state. The
lines of steamboats that ply the navigable streams of eastern
Virginia afford commercial communication for large sections of the
state with the markets of this country and of Europe. Norfolk and
Newport News maintain communication with the European markets by
steamers and vessels, while from these ports is also kept up an
extensive commerce along the Atlantic seaboard. The seaports are
nearer than is New York to the great centers of population, and
areas of production, of the West and Northwest.

Market garden crops of every description can be grown. The following
result was obtained on a four-acre patch near Norfolk:

"The owner stated that in September he sowed spinach on four acres.
Between Christmas and the first of March following he cut and sold
the spinach at the rate of one hundred barrels to the acre, at a
price ranging from two to seven dollars per barrel--an average of
$4.50 per barrel. Early in March the four acres were set out to
lettuce, setting the plants in the open air with no protection
whatever, 175,000 plants on the four acres. He shipped 450
half-barrel baskets of lettuce to the acre, at a price ranging from
$2 to $2.75 per basket.

"Early in April, just before the lettuce was ready to ship, he
planted snap beans between the lettuce rows; and today, June 2d,
these are the finest beans we have seen this season.

"The last week in May he planted cantaloupes between the bean rows,
which, when marketed in July, will make four crops from the same
land in one year's time. The cantaloupes will be good for 250 crates
to the acre, and the price will run from $1 to $1.50 per crate. A
careful investigation of these 'facts, figures, and features' will
show that his gross sales will easily reach $2000 per acre; his net
profits depend largely upon the man and the management; but they
surely should not be less than $1000 clear, clean profit to the
acre."

"This is for farming done all out of doors. No hothouse or hotbed
work--not a bit of it, with no extra expense for hotbeds, cold
frames, or hothouses."

"Intensive," thorough tillage and care of the soil will probably pay
as well here as at any point in the United States.

Apples are the principal fruit crop of the state. There is a yearly
increasing number of trees. In one of the valley counties a
seventeen-year-old orchard of 1150 trees produced an apple crop as
far back as 1905 which brought the owner $10,000, another of fifty
twenty-year-old trees brought $700. Mr. H. E. Vandeman, one of the
best-known horticulturists in the country, says that there is not in
all North America a better place to plant orchards than in Virginia;
on account of its "rich apple soil, good flavor and keeping
qualities of the fruit, and nearness to the great markets of the
East and Europe."

The trees attain a fine size and live to a good old age, and produce
abundantly. In Patrick County there is a tree nine feet five inches
around which has borne 110 bushels of apples at a single crop; other
trees have borne even more. One farmer in Albemarle County has
received more than $15,000 for a single crop of Albemarle Pippins
grown on twenty acres of land. This pippin is considered the most
delicious apple in the world.

The fig, pomegranate, and other delicate fruits flourish in the
Tidewater region.

New England, from Maine to Rhode Island, is suffering from one
disease--lack of intelligent labor. Thirty years ago the sons and
daughters who, in the natural course of events, would have stayed to
cultivate the home acres, left to form a part of the westward throng
making for the level, untouched prairies of Illinois and Iowa.

The old folks have died or become incapacitated. New interests chain
their children to adopted homes. Result,--unoccupied lands by the
hundred thousand acres, awaiting energy, skill, and faith.

Ten dollars an acre is a common price for the rocky hills of New
England. The choice river bottoms, and land near the larger cities
is as high priced as similar land anywhere else. Intending settlers
can buy small areas for little money; usually the smallest farms
have good buildings worth in many cases more than the price asked
for the whole farm. Climatic conditions are not favorable to single
cropping. In the old days general farming, grain, beef, sheep, and
hogs were the rule; nowadays, special crops, dairying, fruit
growing, etc.

Tobacco is the great staple in the rich Connecticut River bottoms,
and even on the uplands, if properly manured, it pays from one to
three hundred dollars per acre. Tobacco can be raised on small areas
far from the railroad, as, when properly cured and packed for
shipment, it is not perishable. To many the worst feature of New
England is the climate--long, cold winters and short summers. Maine
being farthest north suffers most in this respect, but that does not
prevent her producing hundreds of thousands of tons of sweet corn
for canning and vast quantities of eggs and butter. Fruit does well
on the lower coast; a small orchard of peaches or plums will in
three or four years from planting make a comfortable living. Bush
fruits grow in abundance and give never-failing crops.

Poultry is peculiarly successful on the rocky hills, because they
are nearly always dry or well drained. Dairying can be made to pay
if near a creamery, or where milk can be sold at retail. The
prospective settler here should bear in mind that wherever he goes,
the first year will produce little more than a kitchen garden; the
second enable him barely to pull through, and the third give him a
start at a permanent income. In farming, as in all other businesses,
only those will succeed who know what they want and how to get it;
who have selected with care the locality best suited to the special
crops they intend to raise; and after having once made a selection,
stick until they have compelled success.

The lure of the vast West and of the new South is not forgotten; but
the time has passed when the young man could go West to take a farm
of Uncle Sam's. Desirable land is too expensive for the pioneer, and
the constant toil and comparative isolation of the prairie farm
offers but a poor sort of liberty, though it still affords a living.

But close to the growing towns in those states small plots of land
can still be had to work with the same bright prospects that are
offered near the great metropolis.

In nearly all the sections within the area of intensive cultivation,
timber is still plentiful enough to make it the cheapest building
material; and persons who really want to get to the land can
contrive a sufficient shelter, like a pioneer's, for from two to
five hundred dollars.






CHAPTER XVIII

CLEARING THE LAND





It is pretty good fun to hack at bushes and to chop trees down and
then to chop them up. If there is only a small part of the land to
be cleared, a man can easily learn skill with the ax and do it at
odd times, but he was a wise old man of whom his little girl said,
"When grandpa wants anything, that moment he wants it." It is now
that we need the land; but even if it is covered with trees, there
is no cause for discouragement. Lumber is so high that the local or
portable sawmill men will buy the timber by the acre. They will cut
the trees and haul the logs.

If you decide to cut a tree yourself, a little inquiry will show for
what purpose it will bring the highest price. Locust sticks, for
example, four to six inches thick, will bring in New York ten or
fifteen cents a running foot for insulator pinions. If a maple
proves to be either "curly" or "bird'seye" (this depending not on
the variety, but on the accidental undulations of the fiber), it
will be in demand for the manufacture of furniture.

Sugar maples ten or fifteen feet high can be transplanted or sold.
Nut and fruit trees will nearly always be worth keeping.

Cedar sticks fourteen feet long will bring twenty cents in most
places for hop and bean poles. See what can be sold instead of
burned, and don't cut down recklessly; an unsalable tree may be
valuable as a windbreak or as shade for your house. The wrong tree
for shade is the dense foliaged, low-branched tree which forms a
solid dome from the ground up. The right tree, in the opinion of
Henry Hicks (in _Country Life in America), _is the American elm,
which ought to be called the umbrella tree. Pliny speaks of the
plane tree, our sycamore or buttonwood, as excellent, because of the
horizontal branches which, like window blinds, allow free passage of
the breezes while intercepting the heat of the sun.

The ideal shade tree is a canopy like a parasol over the house, with
high, leafy branches that do not shut off light and air from the
windows. This cools a house by keeping the sun off and cools the air
by the rapid evaporation from its leaves, and will make it ten to
fifteen degrees cooler in summer. It will be cheaper and more
effective than a combination of awnings, piazza, and eaves. Woodman,
spare that tree.

Stumps may be burned out To get a good draught, bore a hole in a
slanting direction far down among the roots. The smoke goes through
the hole first and then the flame, boring the body to the roots deep
enough to plow. Land can also be cleared by dynamite. We condense
from Edith Loring Fullerton in _Farming, _on what has been done.

To go into the desolate, uncultivated, burned over "waste lands"
near a great city and put ten acres under cultivation in the
shortest possible space of time was our problem. We undertook it at
short notice in an uncertain season--the autumn--with the
determination to get at least a portion of the land seeded down to
winter rye before cold weather prohibited further work.

United to this problem was that of working a small farm to its
utmost capacity rather than half cultivation of a large one, which
is difficult to handle from lack of time and labor and an unwise
proposition for the East under the most favorable circumstances.

Ten acres of scraggy-looking woodland was purchased, sixty-eight
miles from New York City on the north shore of Long Island. The plot
had a few second and third growth oak and chestnut trees and
"sprouts" along the borders. All else had been burned, and the
center of the acreage exhibited the mangled and blackened remains of
a once thrifty woodland.

We proceeded to choose as our helpers native Long Islanders whom we
were desirous of allowing to work. We succeeded by strenuous efforts
in getting together a "gang" of both colored and white men to the
stupendous number of eight. They fell to work with a right good
will, at first cutting down here and trimming up there as directed.
However, after giving them a fair trial, we decided that they must
be replaced by Italians. The question of housing the eighteen
Italians soon came up. Tents might be adopted or even the unsanitary
"dugout" be allowed to mar the landscape. A shanty was entirely too
ugly to suit our tastes, and also expensive, and useless when the
men were through with it. Tents were too airy, as we knew the work
would continue until freezing weather, and perhaps well into the
winter. We "passed" on the "dugout." The ideal was something that
would be of use after the work of clearing was completed, and for
that purpose we decided upon "condemned freight cars." They cost but
ten dollars each, the railroad being glad to get rid of them. We
bought two, ultimately using one for a chicken house and the other
as a barn. In the meantime it was decided to remove the stumps by
dynamite, as trying to yank them out by stump pullers or by mattock
and plow was both slow and brutal. The ordinary custom of allowing
nature to work six years at the stumps and gradually eliminate them
by decay was not to be thought of.

Dynamiter Kissam, a Long Island expert, arrived and set to work,
using fuses for small stumps up to two feet in diameter.

With the advent of the Italians work began in earnest; they cleared
out every useless tree, cutting cord wood where any could be
obtained and burning the branches and charred trees as they went.
They also cleared out all underbrush thoroughly.

The dynamiter with his helper followed them up. This is the most
exciting and interesting part of clearing land by modern methods.

The dynamite is put up in half-pound sticks. They are a little
larger than an ordinary candle and are wrapped in heavy yellow
paraffined paper. One folded end of this paper is opened up and a
hole made by a wooden skewer into the dynamite stick, which is
plastic and resembles graham bread in color and consistency.

For magneto-battery work where several charges are required, a
copper cap in which is a minute quantity of fulminate of mercury,
and which is exploded by a spark, is attached to fine electric wires
and sealed by sulphur. This cap is placed in holes in the sticks of
dynamite, and then securely tied by drawing string tightly around
the paper which is raised to admit the cap.

In preparing a charge for fuse ignition, the cap is crimped to the
end of a piece of mining fuse and this is inserted in the dynamite
stick and securely fastened as previously described.

These prepared charges are placed in a basket and carried very
tenderly to the stumps which have been prepared by the dynamiter's
assistant. All the work is handled very carefully, for while there
is not much danger of an accident unless fire is placed near the
explosive, nevertheless extreme caution is used at all times. It
requires a nature serene, calm, and deliberate.

Deep oblique holes were then made with a round crowbar under the
stump singled out for execution. This hole should be as nearly
horizontal as possible and directly under the stump so that all the
explosive force may be expended on the wood and not on the earth
between the dynamite and the stump. The earth acts as a cushion and
the natural tendency of dynamite to exert force downward is
counteracted.

As soon as a small strip was blown, the Italians, gathering up all
the stumps, roots, and fragments, removing any pieces that were
loosened but not completely torn out, and piling them at intervals,
immediately burned them. This cannot be done when stumps are removed
by any other method, for by the digging process the earth must be
picked and scraped from them and ultimately the stump hacked in
pieces before it will burn.

By our method the stump is burned and the finest kind of unleached
wood ashes--containing lime to "sweeten" and potash and phosphoric
acid to furnish plant food--are spread upon the ground a few hours
after the stumps are blown out. These ashes would under other
circumstances have to be purchased at a cost of perhaps two dollars
a barrel, and as five barrels at least to the acre are required for
good fertilization, these ashes gave us the first credit upon the
books.

Following the burners came the manure spreaders; five carloads of
manure had been purchased and was delivered before it was needed.
When the manure was spread upon the land (one half carload to the
acre), the plow started its work smoothly and with none of the
strain and jerk on man and beast usual in new land. The soil was
turned over with the greatest ease, for the explosions had shivered
and torn out even the smallest roots, so the plow ran through the
ground much more easily than in sod land.

Our friable, sandy loam, with a light admixture of clay, pulverized
and aerated by the explosions, was in market garden condition at
once and without the year's loss of crops assured by old methods.

A tooth harrow was next run over the plowed section, and gleaners
followed the harrow, picking up the fine roots as they were brought
to the surface. As piles of these fine roots grew, they were burned
and the ashes immediately spread upon the land. The tooth harrow was
run again across the rows, the disk harrow following chopped and
pulverized the earth into the finest possible condition. Thirty five
and one half working days after Larry and his gang arrived, rye was
drilled into three and one half acres.

The condemned freight cars were placed upon skids and drawn to the
desired position over soaped planks. They were raised from the
ground to give good under ventilation. The north and east sides are
filled or banked up with sand which came out of the well. This keeps
out the cold winds, and, in the case of the chicken-house car,
allows the fowls a shaded shelter on hot summer days.

The chicken-house car was placed facing the southeast. The western
end has a large glazed sash placed on it, and two in the southern
side. One half the car was partitioned off for roosting quarters,
while the other half serves as a laying and scratching house. This
farm keeps only a few chickens for family use.

The artesian well was started in October. The well was, naturally, a
necessity, but there was much to be considered in regard to the
method of pumping. Under ordinary circumstances a windmill would do,
and is generally a good auxiliary; a ten-foot iron tower and a
ten-foot fan wheel cost about fifty dollars, but our farm is not to
be allowed to be a failure for lack of water in a dry season. In
case of drought (and every summer brings one of greater or less
duration) water must be on hand, and as a drought usually is
accompanied by windless weather, the windmill could not be depended
upon. An engine was obviously necessary. Both gasoline and kerosene
engines were closely investigated, with the result that a kerosene
oil engine was decided upon. (The new style of heavy oil engine is
better and cheaper to run. Ed.) An advantage of the engine over a
windmill is that it will furnish power for cutting wood, grinding
grain, or lighting the buildings, a two and one half horsepower
engine running twenty-five 16 c.p. lights easily.

The rye was turned under green in the spring to furnish humus, the
greatest and only vital need of this particular spot of virgin soil.

Since that was written an excellent and cheap stump puller has been
introduced, but the account of work is still typical. Dynamiting is
still the modern way to clear land as well as to break up a stiff
subsoil or hardpan, so as to loosen the earth to let deep roots like
trees or alfalfa go down and to secure drainage.

Primitive American man regarded trees as "lumber" instead of as
timber and still destroys countless millions in valuable wood as he
"clears the ground."

After it is cleared, it is vital to keep it cleared of weeds, which
worse garroters of crops than trees. To do that we don't need to bow
to the Earth, nor to hammer her with a hand hoe.

"The Man with the Hoe" began to be a back number when Arkwright
invented the ark or the mule or whatever he did invent. The man with
the wheel hoe is the man that is "It." A wheel hoe costs from $6 to
$12, and will do the work of several men without breaking the heart
or even the back of one of them. It has as many attachments as a
summer girl and is equally versatile. It must be run between the
rows as soon as the ground is dry after every rain, so as to slay
the weeds before they are born. If you don't they will slay your
profits, if not yourself.

Crops grown on that experimental farm are: Asparagus, berries,
beans, beets, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, carrots, cucumbers,
corn, eggplant, endive, fruit trees, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, limes,
melons, martynias, onions, okra, parsley, parsnips, peas, potatoes
(sweet and white), pumpkins, radishes, rhubarb, salsify, squash,
tomatoes, etc. Marketed strictly choice radishes May 18, peas June
10, lettuce June 21, beans June 29, beets July 8, carrots July 10,
cabbage July 11. Surely a rapid result.

Hemp is hardly worth your growing for itself under ordinary
circumstances; the returns per acre are not sufficient. But Charles
Richard Dodge, in one of the United States Yearbooks of the
Department of Agriculture, says that as a weed killer it has
practically no equal.

In proof of this, a North River farmer stated that thistles
heretofore had mastered him in a certain field, but after sowing it
with hemp not a thistle survived; and while ridding the land of this
pest, the hemp yielded him nearly sixty dollars an acre, where
previously nothing valuable could be produced.

As it grows from Minnesota to the Mississippi Delta, its value for
this purpose is considerable.

But there is a way easier and cheaper of clearing land than by
blasting, if we can afford to wait a little; and Mr. George Fayette
Thompson, in Bulletin No. 27, Bureau of Animal Industry, tells us
how, giving some interesting facts about Angora goats, of which the
following is a condensation:

To people taking up raw land, particularly where there is a heavy
undergrowth to be cleared away, goats of some kind are an invaluable
aid. In its browsing qualities the common goat is as good as any,
but, aside from the clearing of the land, the profit in his keep is
very little, though some demand is growing up for goat's milk for
infants and for some fancy cheeses. A much better animal from the
standpoint of profit, while in use as a scavenger, is the Angora
goat. Their long, silky hair has been used for centuries in making
blankets, lap robes, rugs, carpets, and particularly the "cashmere"
shawls, formerly a great luxury in this country. Much of the camel's
hair dress goods is in reality made from the hair of the Angora
goat, or mohair, as it is called. Angora goats thrive best in high
altitudes with dry climates. They exist in greatest number in the
United States in California, New Mexico, and Texas. They have been
used successfully in the Willamette Valley of Oregon to eat the
underbrush off the land, doing for nothing that for which the
farmers pay Chinese laborers twenty-five to forty dollars per acre.
The cost of Angora goats is about ten to thirty dollars each for
does, with bucks at fifty to two hundred dollars, so that even with
a small area of land to clear it would pay to buy a little flock for
that purpose. Dr. Shandley, of Iowa, says that two to three goats to
the acre is sufficient for cleaning up land, and that in two years
the goats will eat all of the underbrush from woodland, such as
briers, thistles, scrub oak, sumac, and, in fact, any shrub
undergrowth. They need no other food than what they can secure from
the woods themselves. Consequently, the income from the sale of
mohair is nearly net.

The more nearly thoroughbred the goats are, the better the mohair
and the higher the price. The meat of the Angora goat is superior to
mutton, although if sold in the market under the name of goat meat,
it commands only half the price of mutton.

As an example of the Angora's utility in cleaning up land, the
Country Gentleman says: "Mr. Landrum exhibited ten head at the
Oregon State Fair. In order to demonstrate their effectiveness as
substitutes for grubbing, he left them on three acres of brush. At
the end of the second year the land was mellow and ready for the
plow."

It might be possible to build up a business in clearing lands for
others by means of a herd of Angoras.






CHAPTER XIX

HOW TO BUILD





If you find an "abandoned farm" on which the buildings are worth
more than the whole price asked, as frequently happens, you are all
right. Even if the buildings are somewhat dilapidated, you can fix
them up for a few dollars. But in buying small plots of ground,
larger farms have to be broken up. If you buy from the resident
owner, he may sell you five acres off his larger tract, and keep his
house to live in. Certain it is that if a farm of 100 acres is
subdivided into twenty five-acre farms, at least nineteen new houses
must be built, although sometimes an old barn can be made into a
fair residence.

If you can do no better, it is possible to start by tenting. An
outfit large enough for a family of six would be about as follows:

1 wall tent with fly, 10 X 14, for sleeping 1 wall tent with fly, 10
X 14, for dining

1 old cook stove (to be erected outdoors), 2 floors, 10 X 14, at $5
each

Brown tents, at least for the sleeping rooms, are best; they last
longer, are cooler, and do not attract the flies; though indeed we
need not have house flies if we keep the horse manure covered
up--they are all bred in that. If the tents are in the shade, the
cost of the cover or fly can be saved in the dining tent; but it is
necessary in the living tent, because wet canvas will leak when
touched on the inside. To make the tent warm for the winter, we must
bank up to the edges of the platform with earth and cover the whole
with another tent of the same shape, but a foot larger in every
dimension. These are commonly used in Montana.

It is to be presumed that no one would attempt moving in without
household utensils, which may be as simple or elaborate as you
please. If there is a sawmill in the vicinity, a temporary shack for
winter, say 22 X 30 feet, could be built for from $400 to $600,
depending on the interior finish. Partitions can be made very cheap
by erecting panels covered with canvas, burlap, old carpet, etc.
Such a building does not need to be plastered, but can be made warm
enough by an inside covering of burlap, heavy builders' paper, or
composition board. Tar paper laid over solid sheeting makes a roof
that will last for two or three years. For such a shack draw the
plans yourself. All you really need is a living room, bedroom, and
kitchen.

A cheap and effective water supply can be gotten from a driven well,
which in most places costs about one dollar per foot. Have it where
the kitchen is to be, so that the water can be pumped into a barrel
or other tank over the stove. With a good range you can have as good
a supply of hot and cold water as you had in the city.

If so fortunate as to find a piece of land with a good spring on it,
you can lay pipes and draw the water from that. If you can get
twelve or fifteen feet fall from the spring to the kitchen, you
don't need a pump at all.

For a toilet closet, build a shed four feet wide, six feet long, and
eight feet high. Use a movable pail or box. Lime slaked or unslaked
or dry dust or ashes must be scattered every time the closet is
used. Always clean before it shows signs of becoming offensive: keep
it covered fly tight and mix the contents with earth or litter, and
scatter on the garden.

A shack can be built of logs which will do for comfort and will look
dignified.

Horace L. Pike, in_ Country Life in America, _says: "The lot on
which we meant to build our log house stood thirty-five feet above
the lake. The problem was how to build a cabin roomy, picturesque,
inexpensive, and all on the ground.

"The ground dimensions are thirty-two by thirty feet outside. This
gives a living room sixteen by fourteen; bedrooms twelve by twelve,
twelve by ten, and nine by seven; kitchen eleven by nine; a five-by
four-foot corner for a pantry and refrigerator; closet four by six,
front porch sixteen by six feet six inches, and rear porch five by
five--705 square feet of inside floor space and 130 square feet of
porch.

"A dozen pine trees stand on the lot, and maneuvering was required
to set a cottage among them without the crime of cutting one. The
front received the salutes of a leaning oak, the life of which was
saved by the sacrifice of six inches from the porch eaves, the trunk
forming a newel post for the step railing.

"We closed the contract immediately for 120 Norway or red pine logs,
thirty feet long and eight by ten inches diameter at butts. The
price was low--one or two dollars their like should have brought. We
used, however, only eighty-one logs; forty thirty-foot, fourteen
eighteen-foot, thirteen sixteen-foot, and fourteen fourteen-foot.

"Work was begun on April 22. Two days sufficed for the owner and one
man to clear and level the ground, dig post holes, set posts, and
square the foundation. The soil was light sand with a clay hardpan
three feet down.

"Twenty-seven days each were put in by two men from start to finish,
with assistance rendered by the owner. There were seven days by the
mason, eight by carpenters, and four teen and one half by other
labor. On June 4 the cabin was ready for occupancy, and the family
moved in. The prices, as in most cases cited, are higher to-day.
Cheaper transportation or lower tariff may reduce them again.

"Making allowances for increased cost of logs and differences in any
of the material cost, this cabin can be duplicated for less than
$700 by any one who has the ground, a few tools, and some building
ability. It is compact, convenient, and more roomy than a
superficial glance reveals, and it can be occupied (slight care is
required) from April to November with only the kitchen stove and the
fireplace supplying the heat. The same plan can be used for an
all-frame structure, perhaps at less cost. It could be sheathed and
slab covered in a locality where slabs, edged to six or eight inches
wide, could be had; or slabs could be used perpendicularly in the
gable ends and on the outside of the rear extension."

We must not overlook the differences in cost of lumber and labor in
different places, sometimes more than doubling nor the fact that
different contractors will vary often twenty-five per cent in their
bids.

A mere cabin, like a wooden tent, 12 X 10 with a platform adjoining,
will accommodate one or even two persons and can be built by a
contractor even at war prices for about fifty to one hundred
dollars. This will serve for tool house or storeroom when a more
convenient residence can be afforded. A number of such can be seen
at "Free Acres," New Jersey, an hour from New York City on the D. L.
& W. Railroad.

Thoughtful provision and planning will go far to reduce costs. A
stove pipe which should run up inside the house, not outside, so as
to conserve heat and fuel, serves as chimney and fireplace. A
Franklin stove, practically an open fireplace set out entirely
inside the house, is a practical device, though it costs from $18 to
$30. It gives a cheerful open fire to burn wood or coal and has a
flat top to keep things hot, a clutch oven of sheet iron, and a bob
can be attached to the front of the grate.

But remember that though you may have trees or fallen wood for the
cutting it takes a lot of time to cut it. A cylindrical self-feeding
coal burner is most economical for heating and a lined sheet iron
cooking stove for the kitchen.

A fireless cooker, which retains the heat all day by means of
soapstone or insulation and slowly cooks the food without losing the
juices, is an economical device. It can be made at home by copying
what you see in the stores or by getting directions from the U. S.
Department of Agriculture.

Don't forget double windows at least toward the north; and on all
windows have heavy holland shades which make an air space between
the cold windowpanes and the atmosphere of the room.

Portable houses sound attractive, but they do not pay unless you
will need to move them. Manifestly it costs more to make a house
like a trunk than like a shed. The houses shipped ready made of the
"Aladdin" type, with all the parts ready marked to be nailed
together by unskilled labor are a much better investment and are not
shaky.

It is true that living is expensive in the train suburbs, when
almost all that is eaten comes from the city, with freight and
monopoly rates added. But one can raise most of what the family
eats, and save besides in car fares and doctor's bills.

The rent, perhaps a quarter of the income, that was paid for a place
so small that the cat had to jump on a chair when the baby sat down,
will be a clear gain.

Mrs. Warrington's cottage at Rose Valley, Pennsylvania, forms a very
interesting subject, and is built from designs of well-known
architects of Philadelphia, who have taken up building small,
inexpensive modern houses in a practical manner. The house is built
with a stone foundation and a wooden superstructure with exterior
walls covered with metal lath and cement stucco which is stained a
cream color. The trimmings are stained a soft brown and the sashes
are painted white. The roof is covered with shingles, and is left to
weather finish. The front porch, from which a vestibule leads into
the house, has a hooded cover formed by the main roof sweeping down
sufficiently to form a protect tion. The vestibule forms an entrance
to both the living room and the kitchen; the kitchen is at the front
of the house, allowing the main rooms and a private porch to be at
the south side. The interior throughout is trimmed with cypress and
stained a soft brown. The second floor joists are exposed to view
and are stained in a similar manner, while the ceiling space between
the joists is plastered. A broad archway separates the living and
the dining rooms, and while it forms a separation, it does not
preclude the possibility, when desired, of throwing the two rooms
into one large apartment. The large, open fireplace is built of
clinker brick, and its facings extend from the floor to the ceiling;
it has a wooden shelf supported on corbeled brackets. A semi-boxed
stairway rises out of the living room to the second floor. There are
three bedrooms with good-sized closets, and a bathroom on the second
floor. A cellar, under the entire house, has a cemented bottom, and
contains a laun dry. This house costs about $2000 complete.

Houses built of cement blocks are growing in favor. Cement blocks
can be made anywhere by unskilled labor. All that is needed is a
competent foreman to direct the making and seasoning of the blocks
and laying them in the walls.

The cost of concrete compared to frame or brick structures is, if
anything, all things considered, in favor of concrete. Houses built
of wood are likely to become increasingly expensive because of the
deforesting which is going on in all parts of the United States.

There are abundant books of plans and costs published, showing what
may be built, and several responsible publishers recklessly offer to
refund the cost of the plans if the expense of building the house
exceeds their estimates.

There are also a number of manufacturers of ready-made portable
houses, running in cost from about three hundred dollars for four
rooms, upward. Some of these are adapted to all-the-year-round use
and may be used where land is taken experimentally.






CHAPTER XX

BACK TO THE LAND





"Life, to the average man, means hard, anxious work, with
disappointment at the end, whereas it ought to mean plenty of time
for books and talk. There is something wrong about a system which
condemns ninety-nine hundredths of the race to an existence as bare
of intellectual activity and enjoyment as that of a horse, and with
the added anxiety concerning the next month's rent. Is there no
escape? Through years of hard toil I suspected that there might be
such an escape. Now, having escaped, I am sure of it, so long as
oatmeal is less expensive than Hour, so long as the fish and the
cabbage grows, I shall keep out of the slavery of modern city
existence, and live in God's sunshine." (Hubert, "Liberty and a
Living.")

The wealthy class are taking up farming as a healthy and beautifying
diversion, and we may expect others to follow, as it certainly
promotes happiness and adds to the attractions of those who adopt
it. With the aids which science has given, a farmer can now make
good profits with less labor than was formerly necessary to get a
bare living. The amount that a single well-managed, well-tilled acre
will produce in a season is simply incredible. This accounts for the
increased demand for farming lands wherever they are to be had on
reasonable terms. The wage earners are learning this, and it is only
a question of a little time when manufacturing plants will have to
be convenient to lands where the families of the hands can have a
small tract of land to cultivate. This requires good transportation
facilities from the homes to the factories.

Corporate operation has been a great aid to human progress.
Organization is man's orderly way of following the Divine Plan for
his economic salvation vet the far mer has profited less by
organization than trades unions. Where farmers have organized to aid
each other to buy and sell, they have gained wonderfully, but a
beginning in this direction has but served to show how much more is
needed.

To the individual farmer with large area and small means, the
improvements in machinery that cheapen his production are not at
present available. The discoveries in methods of fertilization of
the soil only make it more difficult for him to earn a living in
competition with those whose ample capital increases production by
its use. Improvements in fruits and vegetation, by hybridization and
various methods that add wealth to those of means, only add to the
troubles of our present small farmers.

Hitherto corporate operation has been mainly for the benefit of
stockholders. The cases where those whose labor creates dividends
get more than wages have been rare. "A living wage" has been the
ambition of labor itself: all profit beyond this is supposed to be
the right of capital. There is with some persons an unconscious
reluctance to share profits with labor lest the laborers become
independent, and thus reduce their number to an extent to raise the
labor market, so that it is difficult to get fair consideration of
any business proposition that promises better conditions for the
producer or independence for the laborer. This is undoubtedly short
sighted, as the higher intelligence of the people who have land
increases production and gives enlarged opportunities for the
profitable employment of money. However, if capitalists persist in
this narrow view, the money of the people when they learn and think,
can be applied to this purpose instead of being deposited in savings
banks, where much of it is used in increasing the wealth of those
who already have abundance.

The idea of "helping others to help themselves" finds a responsive
chord in the hearts of many wealthy people. But the question is, how
can all be helped? No business method by which this can be
accomplished has, as yet, been practically demonstrated.

In no field does corporate operation promise more for the betterment
of human conditions, for a higher standard of morals and of
education, or great certainty of profit for capital, than by
systematically aiding men to obtain farms.

Progress proceeds on the line of returns for expenditure. When a
man's economic condition permits, his first thought is to give his
children an education and a better chance in life than he had. Those
who extol the simple life as the ideal condition of happiness do not
mean that want and deprivation of necessities is the ideal
condition. If they did, they would put their children in that
condition to make them happy. Both extremes of wealth and of poverty
are burdens and retard mental and moral progress. The ideal
condition is to be found on a farm where the land is paid for and
ample means are at hand to supply the necessities for physical
demands, with leisure to learn and enjoy those pleasures of the mind
which come with knowledge of Nature's laws, and wisdom to live in
harmony with them, and in a measure comprehend the purposes of
creation.

Mr. G. W. Smith, founder of the Hundred Year Club, suggests that
there is an opening in intensive farming for the benevolent but
canny wealthy who are interested in the soil and want to combine
philanthropy and percentage.

His plan is to get capital to secure land and all the necessary
means, give to each approved applicant perpetual leases of land for
a small farm and a lot in a village site convenient thereto, with a
house merely sufficient for shelter, requiring as a first payment
sufficient to secure capital against loss in case the farmer
forfeits his contract, say $100. Let the company provide scientific
supervision and conduct the operation mainly as though the farmers
were employees, all the necessaries to be charged to each with only
sufficient profit to pay the expense and a fair interest on the
capital employed. Through a purchasing and sales department all
products should be sold in the best market and each farmer credited
with the net result of his productions until the agreed sale price
is received, when title should pass in fee to the farmer, who,
during the time, has become scientific so far as that piece of land
is concerned, and in future can operate it with the advantages which
progress has made. A public building would be necessary for a
storehouse, in which rooms for meetings of various kinds should be
provided, also such shelter as might be necessary for assembling and
storage of products for shipment.

The expense of public buildings and other utilities could be paid
for out of the increased value that they bring to the land. The
company should have a nursery to provide fruit tree, etc., the
growth of which, with the increase of population would make the
farms, when paid for, worth far more than their cost. Such
opportunities as this, opened to all, would do away with the tramps
who are now able to live on the charitable, only because of the
known difficulties of finding work.

The farmers should be utilized as far as possible in the purchasing
and sales department, and should divide into committees to try
various experiments connected with their business, that through
their reports all may be benefited by the knowledge gained. Dairying
and large orchards on land suitable and not of use in the general
farming plan could be conducted by the community, each farmer being
a stockholder. The labor performed on these cooperative undertakings
should be paid for and charged to cost of production, each one who
performs a share of the labor participating in the profits as near
as may be. As money is received by the company from products, it can
be used in similar operations. When the farms are paid for, the
farmers can continue the cooperative features that experience has
proved useful and extend the business principle to other fields,
such as heating, light, and power by electricity, machinery for
preparing products for market, drying, canning, etc., as well as for
the cultivation of the soil.

Where the land is level the farms can be laid out on a general plan
that will admit of the use of steam plows to reduce the cost of
plowing, save hard labor, and reduce the number of work animals.

Among the multitude of advantages the individual would have in these
communities, social, educational, and economic, health and physical
development appear as not the least.

The farm, as it is, still furnishes a horde of recruits for insane
asylums; its isolation and monotony of everyday life, with its lack
of social intercourse and educational advantages, nearly
counterbalance the strain and poverty of the cities.

But the greatest difficulty is the growing inability of the farmers'
sons to secure land and the means to cultivate it when they arrive
at a marriageable age. Those who have seen for threescore years the
ever-increasing flow of boys and girls from the farms to the cities,
greater in proportion to the rural population than in any other age,
realize the necessity for aid in this direction. While it is true
that the farm has contributed largely to the numbers of our
successful city men, the fact remains that the mass of boys who come
to the cities as well as the city born, lack the faculty to grab or
save, and fail, while the healthy girls swell the ranks of
prostitution, where an average of eight years lands them in a
pauper's grave.

Our soldiers, as well as those of other countries, are not up to
former physical standards. Degeneracy, disintegration is apparent in
every direction.

The power of a nation depends on the physical and mental condition
of the great mass of people, and to leave the people in ignorance
that they may be controlled by the intelligent few who understand
their needs and may have their welfare at heart, is a mistake that
other nations than Russia have made. The law of the survival of the
fittest has wiped out races and nations who have ignored this
fundamental law, that all men must progress together.

A race or civilization with such a basis of farmers as this plan
would create would be enduring.

The nation or race, like the individual, must have intelligent
organization and live in harmony with the laws of nature in order to
survive. Opposition to them means destruction Cooperation is
constructive.

If we are to profit by this lesson, it is necessary that we improve
the conditions surrounding our lower classes. That this is
recognized by a large number of leading minds is proved by the
efforts of the many who are engaged in educational and other social
movements, most of which result in little net good to the
wage-earners.

Obstacles to small farming near large cities are that farms of three
to ten acres with buildings are not plentiful, and that mortgage
loans are hard to get in the East and loans to help in building are
hardly to be had at all.

Land is either held intact as large farms or is sold entire to
speculators who hold it until it can be divided into city lots.
Here, it would seem, is an opportunity for those who are interested
in bettering the condition of their fellow men by wholesale, and can
invest large capital, but little time, in the work.

Let them buy up land in large acreages and cut it up into small
plots of from one to ten acres, charging enough advance to return
interest on the money invested and to meet the necessary expenses in
such operation. Then make liberal building loans to buyers.
Inquiries among real estate men show that they always have a larger
demand for small acreage than they can meet, so an immediate market
with large profits would await those who are first in this field.

There is no use in blaming people for not leaving the cities to go
to the farms; they don't know enough to go, they don't know enough
to make a living if they do go, and they don't know enough to enjoy
it. Besides this, they have not the capital. We must teach them and
help them.

George H. Maxwell's Homecrofters' Guild at Watertown, Mass., where
boys are taught what to do with the earth and how to do it, is worth
whole shelves of books on "The Exodus to the Cities" or the
"Prosperity of the Settler."

It is reported that the state of Texas offered six million acres of
land for sale to settlers, at one dollar per acre. It has been
suggested that it would be better that the states should rent out
the land at four per cent of the sale price. This would leave more
money in the hands of settlers and enable many to get farms who
cannot pay the price and have enough left to raise a crop. In
reality it would be better for the state to help farmers get a start
rather than to tax them one dollar per acre to begin with. However,
under our system of government, we permit only those who have money
to have land.

There can be no doubt that the state of Texas and her people would
be better off if the land were leased than to have it sold. Probably
a tax on the value of the land instead of a rent would be the best
for all the people, especially as it would check speculation.






CHAPTER XXI

THE COMING PROFESSION FOR BOYS





In order that as little as possible may seem to be taken for granted
or as mere expressions of the opinions of the author, we cite the
views of specialists as to the possibilities of this field, so new
in this country, of intensive agriculture.

These will show that the conviction has become general that, as
workers, as teachers, and as discoverers, there is no career more
inviting or more lucrative or more dignified than that of the
skillful foster-father of plants.

"Children brought up in city tenements tend to become vicious and
sickly, but if transported to country homes they may grow up strong
and self-respecting men and women.

"There are hundreds of applicants for every position in the cities,
and competition forces the pay down to the lowest level. Living
expenses are heavier. The risk to health from sedentary occupations,
long hours in ill-ventilated offices, stores, and workshops is
serious.

"There are few inducements to out-door exercise. Even if he lives at
home, the boy who is forced to the street or into the factory before
he has the strength or education to do good work remains an
unskilled worker all his life.

"Manufacturing is upon a larger and larger scale. The division of
labor is greater and greater. Not only does the gulf between
capitalist and laborer widen, but with it the gulf between skilled
and unskilled labor." ("What Shall Our Boys Do for a Living?"
Charles F. Wingate.)

It is the city that breeds or attracts most of the pauperism and
crime. The country has its own healthy life.

Every one is born with some natural gift, and it is a good thing to
discover early in life what one's natural gifts are so that each may
be educated in the direction suited to natural capacity.

How are you to treat a lad who has naturally an inclination for the
work on the farm? In the first place do not provide him with any
spending money unless he earns it. The prime thing necessary is to
give the boy a personal interest in what is going on upon the farm.
Give him a plot of land as his own, let him understand that anything
he may grow upon this land shall belong to him, but do not give him
this plot and say, "There, take that; do as you like with it," he
will wonder what to do with it. He will need somebody to help him by
teaching him what he is to do. Enter into a partnership with him at
the start, give him some instruction as to what it is best for him
to do with his plot. Find out his inclinations; give him sympathy
and help. Bring out his natural aptitude for farming life, teach him
method in his work; teach him to think his way out; and, best of
all, teach him to work for definite results; that is what is wanted
in any line of life, especially in farm life.

Let the work of the boy have a meaning and a purpose. Let him
understand that certain results cannot be accomplished in any other
way, and give him chances to go outside and see what other people
are doing. Let him see good scientific agriculture and be encouraged
to pursue such methods.

Provide for him the very best reading that can be found in
agricultural journals and books. Let him have three or four years at
an agricultural college. All the influences there point to
agriculture as the best calling for a young man who is fit for it,
whereas in other colleges the influences are all in the opposite
direction. At our agricultural colleges a youth has all the
necessary advantages of general education, and also an education in
the lines fitting him especially for the calling he has selected.
(United States Department of Agriculture, Bulletin 138, condensed.)

"Among farmers and gardeners not enough thought is given to the whys
and wherefores, or cause and effect; as a rule, they go on year
after year without profiting by the personal opportunity afforded
them of observation, or by the results of experiments at scientific
stations.

"With rare exceptions the young farmer and gardener takes up his
work, not from the scientific side, but strictly from the labor
side; and he begins at the bottom, meeting the same difficulties as
did his father and too often not acquiring information beyond what
his father possessed.

"This should not be; agriculture should be taught in all our public
schools in country districts, as it has been taught for years in
Germany and Austria. It should be elevated as an art; in its higher
estate it is already an art. No pursuit possesses a greater scope
for development; the field is almost unoccupied by leaders,
scientific and practical." (Burnett Landreth, in _999 Queries and
Answers._)

In accordance with these ideas, the Baron de Hirsch Agricultural
School at Woodbine, New Jersey, is giving practical courses in
agriculture to Jewish boys, on the principle of individual
plots--all free where necessary.

The trustees of the State Agricultural College of New Jersey, at New
Brunswick, have established winter courses in agriculture, open to
all residents of New Jersey over sixteen years of age. Courses will
be for twelve weeks, and only a small entrance fee is required; few
books will be needed.

Other states are doing likewise; all will need many teachers and
experimenters. At present all who know anything about intensive
agriculture are snapped up by the numerous government experiment
stations at good salaries. The land like that of the Rockefellers,
the Paynes, the Cuttings, on which farming is carried on by
unnecessarily expensive methods, needs the services of trained
agriculturists and professional foresters. The Division of Forestry
at the start employed eleven persons, but now it has in the field as
many hundreds of employees, including a lot of trained foresters.

The railroads also see the profit in teaching farming, and are
devoting more and more money to experiments and lectures to show the
farmers that they can get more and better crops with the same effort
by intelligent selection of seeds.

The Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railway Company ran its first
Seed and Soil Special over the entire system in the winter of
1904-1905, and has lectured to hundreds of thousands of farmers
since.

They report to us that "there is no doubt that the lectures did a
great deal of good, and necessarily the larger increase of crops
which followed is due to the scientific methods of farming expounded
by the various professors." The late President James J. Hill wrote
much about the small farms' large yields.

The hundreds of thousands of "war gardens" unskillfully conducted
and glutting the local markets with crops all matured at about the
same local time will unreasonably disgust many with intensive
cultivation, especially those who work but do not think. The remedy
is more instruction. The effect the agricultural colleges and
experiment stations is plain to the eye in the better appearance of
farms as we near the centers of instruction.

Some years ago a clergyman published a book upon the Adirondacks; it
was full of poetry, and he sent men up there who afterwards became
known as "Murray's Fools." They knew nothing about the life and had
no suitability and little preparation for it. We do not wish to
bring out a crop of "Three Acres and Liberty Fools." We are telling
what has been done and what can be done again. It does not follow
that every man can or will do it, much less teach it or advance the
art, but the field is a large one and holds out great promise to
those who persevere and excel in it.

If any one thinks that the profit of the earth will come to the
cultivator without very intelligent and steady work, he is mistaken.
No owner of land, unless others require it to live upon, can make
money by neglecting it.

Says _Maxwell's Talisman:_ "The greatest good that can be done to
the American farmer to-day is to teach him to make the greatest
possible profit from the smallest tract of land from which a family
can be supported in comfort. A great influence operating to-day
against keeping the boys in the country is that the boy does not
have money enough to buy a farm. It is unfortunately true that in
some places there is a trend in the direction of absorbing farms
into still larger farms with a consequent diminution of population,
as in Iowa and other sections. The remedy for this is to demonstrate
that if the value is in the boy rather than in the farm, and the boy
is taught intensive, diversified, scientific farming, a good living
with a surplus profit that will provide amply for old age, may be
made from a comparatively small tract of land. The tract may be,
say, ten acres, with ample cultivation, irrigation, and
fertilization, or even without irrigation because a hoe and a
cultivator in the hands of a scientific farmer may bring as good and
better results in providing moisture for growing plants as can be
had from a ditch and unlimited water in the hands of an ignorant
farmer."

The field of discovery is always limitless, and it is to those boys
or girls who devote their attention to this that the greatest return
will come. "What a fine thing it would be to find even one plant
free from rust in the midst of a rusted field. It would mean a
rust-resistant plant. Its off-spring would probably be also rust
resistant. If you should ever find such a plant, be sure to save its
seed and plant in a plot by itself. The next year again save seed
from those plants least rusted. Possibly you can develop a rust
proof race of wheat! Keep your eyes open." ("Agriculture for
Beginners," by Burkett, Stevens, and Hill, pages 76-78.) So you may
pluck gain out of loss.

If you want to do experiments, the influence of ether on plants is
one new and wonderful field. It seems to induce artificial rest, so
that lilacs, for instance, can be made to bloom twice by a
treatment, the last time near Christmas.

E. V. Wilcox says in _Farming _that in 1899 a small quantity of
durum or macaroni wheat was introduced into this country for trial.
It was found profitable in localities where there was too little
rain for ordinary wheat. Six years later, 20,000,000 bushels per
year of the wheat was grown in the United States. Its production has
increased greatly every season and has added materially to the total
of the wheat crop.. Thorough fall cultivation has been found to
increase the yield, and in some parts of the wheat belt one in five
of tile farmers has already adopted the practice. In certain states
where manuring has been thought unnecessary, experiments have
demonstrated that the yield may be be increased 60 per cent by this
simple practice. The wheat production of Nebraska was increased more
than 10,000,000 bushels by the introduction of a hardy strain of
Turkey red wheat. Swedish select oats in Wisconsin have greatly
augmented the oat yield of the state. In 1899 six pounds of the seed
was brought to the state and from this small beginning a crop of
9,000,000 bushels was harvested five years later.

"Mr. Gideon, of Minnesota, planted many apple seeds, and from them
all raised one tree that was very fruitful, finely flavored, and
able to withstand the cold Minnesota winter. This tree he multiplied
by grafts and named it the Wealthy apple. It is said that in this
one apple he benefited the world to the value of more than one
million dollars. You must not let any valuable bud or seed variant
be lost." ("Agriculture for Beginners," page 61.)

"This fact ought to be very helpful to us next year when planting
corn. We should plant seed secured only from stalks that produced
the most corn. If we follow this plan year by year, each acre of
land will be made to produce more kernels and hence a larger crop of
corn, and yet no more expense will be required to raise the crop."
(Same, page 71.)

_The World's Work _tells how the country got a new industry.

Mr. George Gibbs, of Clearbrook, Wash., has made his "stake" by
growing tulip and hyacinth bulbs. He had a little place on Orcas
Island, in Puget Sound. He did not know anything about growing
flowers, but he did know that certain varieties of bulbs brought
good prices in the East. He was observant enough to see that the
moist, warm, climate and rich soil of the Puget Sound country were
peculiarly favorable to flowers.

He had bad luck with his bulbs; that only meant that he still had
something to learn. He kept his nerve even when he went bankrupt.
His friends told him he was wasting time, but they could not shake
his faith.

In twelve years he found that he was right. His wonderful gardens
were making him rich. Other men have gone into the business, but he
was first and has kept his lead. He has made the Puget Sound country
the greatest rival of Holland in the sale of flowering bulbs.

Quantities of wild herbs, fruits, and roots that no one eats are
good; the Jesuits had a list of over two hundred kinds that the
Indians ate, but it was lost. Some one can do a great service by
making it up again by research and experiment. Thousands more of the
wild things must be good for dyes, fabrics, and fodder.

Fame like Burbank's and fortune awaits the one who is a good
self-advertiser and can find the use of the poetic daisies,
goldenrod, and thistle, the all-pervading "pusley," and such other
vegetable vermin.

An interesting experiment is conducted in growing tea with colored
child labor, at Tea, South Carolina, by the aid of education and
machinery and the cooperation of the Agricultural Department at
Washington, who will furnish particulars. Whatever may be its
outcome, this will give an opening to some intelligent cultivators,
and it points the way to other fields.

Those who are first in raising new or improved plants find a waiting
market for them.

_The Market Growers Gazette, _of London, England, reports that Mr.
A. Findlay, Mairsland, Auchtermuchty, Scotland, sold one season to
five leading growers whose names are given five seed potatoes at
L 20 each (which would be, perhaps, $500 a peck). He says
enthusiastically: "It is as perfectly round-shaped a potato as can
be imagined. There is a slight dash of pink on the outer rim of the
eye. My stock of it is very small, only 126 lb. and I do not care to
sell any. If next year's crop yields as well as this year's, we
shall have twenty times that quantity." Mr. Findlay has other seed
potatoes, just as high priced, for which he wants $125 per lb.,
which, he says, "means that I do not want to sell any."

This shows what progressive people think of the real value of good
seed.

It is worth mentioning that "The land on which these are grown is
not highly manured; the only artificial manure that it has received
is about 200 lb. of potash per acre. It has the drawback of being
rather stony."

Of course this is "a fad"; it is doubtful if it will pay any one to
give such prices for seed except to sell to some bigger fool than
himself. Of course, also, the market for a particular fancy thing
may soon be overstocked, but it seems to be a nice thing for the
Findlays meanwhile, and it does good in teaching people to
appreciate good things.

Yet the average potato patcher prudently saves his small potatoes
for next year's seed, which is just as if a breeder were to keep the
colts that were too poor to sell, to be the parents of his herd.

In the dark ages of farming--to wit, in 1881, for this is a true
story--a minister of the Gospel came into possession, by
inheritance, of a fifteen-acre farm a short way from Philadelphia.
He found the soil a reddish, somewhat gravelly clay, and so worn out
from years of cropping that it did not support two cows and a horse.
City born and bred, he was encumbered with no knowledge of
agriculture which had to be unlearned. He began a careful and
systematic study of the agricultural literature, and ultimately
developed a novel system of dairy farming to which he adhered
religiously.

The farm Iying near the city is high-priced land; for this reason,
and because of the limited acreage, the cows were kept in the barn
the year round. For six years his bill for veterinary services was
$1.50, while the income from the milk of his seventeen cows was
about $2400 a year. In addition, from four to six head of young
cattle were sold annually, netting about $500 a year. As the stock
on the farm was stall fed every particle of plant food contained in
the stable manure, liquid as well as solid, was utilized. No
fertilizer was ever purchased. Yet all of the "roughage" for thirty
head of stock was raised on the thirteen acres of available soil.
Only $625 a year was expended for concentrated feeding stuffs. The
net earnings of the farm for the period averaged more than $1000 a
year. And this was during the early days of his experience; later he
made more.

Professor W. J. Spillman, of the Agricultural Department, visited
him in 1903, and studied the methods employed. Then, he says, the
rush to see the farm became so great that the owner had to give it
up.

Few people who know nothing about it, and won't learn, can take even
three acres and make anything off it. To get the phenomenal yields
takes capital--sometimes large capital, wisely spent. Sometimes we
read of immense products "per acre"; this often means the product of
a single rod of ground, this gives at the rate of so much "per
acre," or might, if extended.

But any one can take a little bit of ground and use it thoroughly
and increase his borders and his knowledge as he goes on. He will
find plenty to pay him for doing or teaching whatever he has learned
to do that no one else has done "If a man make but a mousetrap
better than his fellows, though he makes his tent in the wilderness,
the world will beat a path to his door."

The mission of this book is accomplished if it interests you to
consider the possibilities of making a living on a few acres and
leads you to investigate. It is not written as a textbook, for, as
has been shown, there are authorities enough cited to supply all the
technical information needed

Its sole object is to show what has been done and what can be done
on small areas and to show that life in the country need not be so
laborious if the same methods are used which make successes of
business in other lines.

If it does this and is the means of checking in any degree the
reckless trend of people from the country to the cities, the author
will feel that his efforts have been well repaid.






CHAPTER XXII

THE WOOD LOT





If you have a bit of woods on your little farm, take care of it. By
intelligent thinning you can make an average income of five dollars
per acre from ordinary second growth wild woods. The cord wood,
barrel hoops, fence posts, and so on will decrease your expenses,
while the timber will increase in value. That lot is the place to
start your boy as a forester.

Instructions how to treat the trees can be obtained from your State
Forestry Department or from the National Forest Service at
Washington: the care of growing timber is a big subject and requires
study, but don't sell your standing timber without their advice.
Forestry can hardly be made to pay on a small lot with hired labor
or hired teams, and you must not pay much for your wood lot, else
interest and taxes will eat up the returns.

To be of high quality, timber must be, to a considerable proportion
of its height, free of limbs, which are the cause of knots; it must
be tall; and it must not decrease rapidly in diameter from the butt
to the top of the last log. In a dense stand of timber there is very
great competition for sunlight among the individual trees, with the
result that height growth is increased. Trees in crowded stands are
taller than those in uncrowded stands of the same age. When the
trees are crowded so that sunlight does not reach the lower
branches, these soon die and become brittle they then fall off or
are broken off by the wind, snow, or other agencies. By this process
trunks are formed which are free from limbs, and hence of high
quality.

It is evident, therefore, that trees in the wood lot should be so
crowded that the crown or top of each individual tree may be in
contact with those of its nearest neighbors. A crowded stand of
trees produces not only a larger number but also a greater
proportion of high quality sawlogs than an uncrowded stand. So vital
a matter is their forest shade that it does not do to set out young
trees which have grown in the forest. Ordinarily, the exposure to
the sunlight stunts them and often kills them. Nursery trees are
best; the next best are trees that have grown at the edge of the
woods.

The actual value of woodland as pasture is small. One dollar per
acre per year is probably a liberal estimate of the value of its
forage. Thrifty fully stocked stands of timber will grow at the rate
of 250 or more board feet of lumber per year. Adopting only 250
board feet as the growth and assuming the value of the standing
timber to be from $5 to $8 per 1000 feet board measure, the value of
the timber growth is from $1.25 to $2 per acre per year.

If the timber is given good care, moreover, the growth should be as
much as 500 board feet per acre per year. The larger value of the
wood lot for growing timber, as compared to the value of its forage
only, is therefore apparent.

It must not be thought possible to secure this growth of timber and
utilize the wood lot for pasture at the same time, because the stock
eat the seedlings and damage the trees.

If shade, however, rather than forage is the wood lot's chief value
to stock, it can doubtless be provided by allowing the stock to
range in only a portion of the lot. The remainder can more
profitably be devoted to the production of wood

Owners are doubtless in some instances indifferent about fires in
their wood lots, because they do not realize that these may do great
harm without giving striking evidence of the fact. They burn the
fallen leaves and accumulated litter of several years, thus
destroying the material with which trees enrich their own soil. The
soil becomes exposed, evaporation is greater, and more of the rain
and melted snow runs off the surface. The roots may also be exposed
and burned. The vitality of the trees is weakened and their rate of
growth decreased. Don't burn leaves or waste growth: it is dangerous
and they are valuable for mulch and for manure.

It has been found in the prairie region that through the protection
afforded by the most efficient grove windbreaks, the yield in farm
crops is increased to the extent of a crop as large as could be
grown on a strip three times as wide as the height of the trees.

At present the following states maintain nurseries and distribute
young trees either free or practically at cost to planters within
the state: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Maryland,
Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, North Dakota, and Kansas.

The names of nurseries which handle stock of certain trees and their
quoted prices for all the more important species can be secured from
the Forest Service, Washington, D. C.

Whether your wood lot pays a profit or not, like the profit from the
rest of your land, depends largely on how it is taxed. The higher it
is taxed the harder it is to make it pay. In most states timberland
is assessed on the basis of its value, timber and land together.
Woodland assessed on this basis is overtaxed as compared with land
assessed on the basis of what it produces each year. The value of
plowland for farm purposes is established by what it will earn. If
the owner can make $10 an acre a year over all expenses by growing
say wheat, corn, cotton or alfalfa on it, his land will have a value
of perhaps $150 an acre. If it took two years to grow a crop, the
land would be worth only half as much. Its owner in that case would
kick vigorously if he could not get his assessment lowered. He would
kick still more vigorously if he had to pay a tax also on the value
of the standing crop, after having to pay too much on the land. "The
Lord loveth a cheerful kicker."

With woodland the case is still worse. Each year the owner may have
to pay a tax on the merchantable crops of many past years. It is as
though the owner of plowland had to pay a tax on the value of his
field crops twice a week throughout the growing season. When a
full-grown tree is cut down or burned up in a forest fire, it may
have been taxed 40 or 50 times over. Each year the land on which it
grew has been valued not on the basis of its earning power, but on
the basis of what it would bring if sold, timber and all. A tax
levied on the income-earning value of the land would be much more
equitable.

Certain states have applied this principle by legislation under
which land to be used for growing timber can be classified so that
the timber can be taxed separately from the land. The land there is
taxed annually on its value, without timber. The tax on the timber
is not paid until the crop is harvested. It is therefore a tax on
the yield. In New York this yield tax is 5 per cent of the value of
the crop harvested; Michigan 5 per cent of it; Massachusetts 6 per
cent; and Vermont, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania 10 per cent, with
different provisions for forests already established.

Such a method is much better than that adopted by a number of states
which exempt, under certain conditions, reforested or reforesting
lands for a term of years, or allow rebates or bounties on such
lands.

The profit of a growing forest crop will depend largely on relief
from excessive taxation. It is unthrifty public policy to discourage
putting waste land to work. ("The Farm Woodlot Problem," by Herbert
A. Smith, Editor Forest Service--from Yearbook of Department of
Agriculture for 1914.)






CHAPTER XXIII

SOME PRACTICAL EXPERIMENTS





The Department of Agriculture at Washington, also Cornell University
and various other schools publish special studies and monographs of
different branches. For some a small charge is made, but they are
mostly distributed free. Many of them are very valuable. The United
States Department's pamphlet on the Diseases of the Violet is a
notable example. The average person does not know how these can be
obtained or even that they exist.

The Department's Year Books are most interesting reading, and both
its Professors and the state colleges will answer particular
questions of citizens.

These and the various United States and State Experiment Station
publications will serve instead of most books (except this one), if
properly filed, indexed, and crossindexed so that you can readily
turn to all the information on a given subject--on bugs, for
instance, before the insects have harvested your crop.

I am trying only to suggest things, not to advise, nor to induce my
readers to try to do anything that they don't like or have no
capacity for. It is difficult to make people understand that.

One reader of this book, a dear creature, wrote her experience for a
Crafts magazine. She got the acres, built her house, and raised one
fine crop of--swans? nuts grafted on wild trees? partridge berries?
No--three tons of hay!

She called it " Three Acres and Starving"; I called it "Three
Acres and Stupidity." She didn't eat the hay, and the Editor
wouldn't publish my reply.

Everybody raises hay and potatoes; so don't you raise any unless for
your own use.

Potatoes are a laborious crop, requiring constant care, manuring,
cutting the seed eyes (on which there is much uncertain lore),
hilling up or down according to drainage and rainfall, spraying with
Pyrox or dusting with Paris green, and, neither least nor last, bug
hunting.

The seed is expensive, but for your own use you may plant from
whatever seed, otherwise wasted, may grow on the potato vine, on the
tops of the plants. The crop will be small potatoes and all kinds of
varieties, which won't sell in the market but which make each dinner
a surprise party. You may strike a new and improved strain, though
there are over a thousand varieties of potato listed already. New
creations of merit bring good returns, and 'tis the enterprising
experimenter that reaps the honor and the harvest, and he is worthy
of his reward.

To select the most productive plants and breed again from these is,
however, a more promising profit plan. Even then don't plant the
tubers unless you will take the pains to soak the seed potatoes in
scab preventer. If you won't, likely you will raise mostly scab, and
the spores thereof will spoil your ground for potatoes for years.

It costs little in money to make it--half a pint of formalin to
fifteen gallons of water. Not guessed but measured gallons. Then
soak for an hour and a half by the Ingersoll. Don't reckon that one
little hour or a few will do just as well. With one hour they will
be under-done and spotty, with three over-done and weakly.

There is lots to be discovered yet about "the spuds." Sawdust is an
excellent mulch for them, as for small fruits. When you store any
seeds to plant, put carbolic moth balls with them. it checks insects
and mice and helps to protect the planted seeds from birds.

In a general way, with potatoes and with other things that you want
good and plenty, get specific directions and follow them. Most
people won't read directions; more can't follow them. Those people
have their knives out for "book farmers and professors," but you
can't improve on experience and experiment by the light of laziness
or of nature.

A delicate jelly is made out of the red outer pulp of rose berries.
It would be romantic to develop a Rose fruit from those seed pods,
as the peach was developed from the almond. We have invented
stranger fruits than that, such as the Logan-berry and the pomato.

But there is better chance for profit in doing the old things
better, especially when the experiment costs little or nothing

You can have a strawberry garden on your roof or even on a balcony.
This need not be costly. Clinch all the nails on the inside of a
stout barrel. Bore half a dozen two-inch holes in the bottom, or put
in a layer of stones, for drainage. Bore a row of eight holes about
eight inches from the bottom of the barrel and about eight inches
apart. Eight inches above this bore a second row of holes
"staggered," and a third eight inches above those. Pile several old
tomato cans with perforated bottoms one on the other in the center
of the barrel: these should be the height of the barrel and placed
upright in its middle. This is the conductor down which water should
be poured at intervals before the soil gets quite dry. Fill the
barrel with soil made of one half loam and one half well-rotted
manure. Be sure the manure is not fresh. A little bone meal is a
good addition.

Now plant the first row of strawberry plants ("ever-bearing" are
best, though they don't ever-bear). Put each plant inside, spread
the roots, and pull the leaves of each out through one of the holes.
Press the soil down firmly around each root. Repeat the process for
the other two rows; fill the barrel and set say six plants on the
top. That will give you thirty plants, which should grow ten to
twentyfive quarts of fine berries, or more. The illustration makes
the holes twelve inches apart--for big leafy plants.

If there are any more, those will be you. Anyhow, you will know a
lot about strawberries at the end of the season. Other things can be
grown in the same way.

Better than growing vegetables, or where dry land can't be obtained,
is to raise some crop like water cress that usually comes from a
distance.

Often an otherwise poor season will help a specialty. One year wet
weather jumped the price of mint and it sold at double prices. Hot,
dry weather is required to make it produce its best.

Most of the mint produced in this country for peppermint oil is
grown in Michigan. More than 4000 acres are reported from a single
county. Mint oil is worth about $3.50 a pound and costs about a
dollar to produce. Nice bright dried leaves sell for about 15 cent
a pound.

The production of mint is sometimes as high as fifty pounds of oil
to the acre. The bulk of it is grown on marshlands, which a few
years ago were nowhere worth more than a few dollars an acre. The
mint is sent to the manufacturers, where it is purified and made
into flavoring extract or used in chewing gum, etc.

Why should we, with our infinite variety of climates, soils, and
labor, import from England the coarser varieties of seeds of the
cabbage family, savoy, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, or kale? We owe
England enough already for the seed of Liberty we got from her.
California now supplies some seed for onions, carrots, parsnips, and
a few others. The finest cauliflower comes mostly from Denmark now.

Turnip seed, too, mangel-wurzel and swedes, onion, pea, bean,
carrot, parsnip, radish, and beet seeds could be grown here by the
same skill, care, and training as they are grown abroad.

An interesting method of forcing plants by the use of hot water
baths is described in _La Nature _(Paris), by Henri Coupin. The
process is much simpler than others now in use and may be employed
by any one who has a small greenhouse, no expert treatment being
necessary. Says Mr. Coupin:

"Most trees in our countries undergo a period of rest, during which
all growth appears to be suspended. Branches do not enlarge and the
buds on them remain as they are. They do not arouse from their
torpor until spring, first, because they then find the conditions
necessary for their development, and again, because, during the
period of rest, chemical changes have taken place in them. These are
indispensable, because if they did not occur, the trees, even in the
most favorable conditions, would not open their buds. For example,
plant branches that have quite recently dropped their leaves, in a
warm greenhouse. They will not bud; but make the same experiment at
the end of several months and the buds will appear.

"There are several ways of shortening this period of rest, some of
which are rather odd. The best known is the process of
etherification, which has been so much discussed recently, and which
consists in placing the plants to be forced in the vapor of ether or
chloroform for twenty-four to forty-eight hours. Afterwards when
placed in a hothouse, the branches begin to develop almost
immediately.

"A very ingenious botanist, Hans Molisch, professor in the
University of Prague, has devised a method of forcing, simpler still
and quite as effective. It consists in plunging the branches into
warm water during a time that varies with the species. The best
method is to plunge the plants in a reservoir of warm water, head
downward, without moistening the roots, which would injure them.
After a certain time, the plants are withdrawn, turned right side up
with care, and placed in a greenhouse, where they develop at once.

"The duration of the warm bath should be nine to twelve hours at
most. The best temperature is 30 degree to 35 degree [86 degree to
95 degree F] . . . That is to say, in the majority of cases, one may
simply employ the water available in hothouses, which is just at the
proper temperature. The process is thus at the disposal of all
gardeners.

"It should be said that the good effects of the hot baths are
confined to the parts actually immersed and do not extend to the
whole plant. Thus, on the same stem we may see developing only the
branches that have been treated with the bath, while the others
remain torpid. This is easy to verify with the lilac or the willow.

"If Lobner is to be believed, we may substitute for the water bath
one of steam. He has obtained good results with the lily of the
valley. The thing is possible, but the method used by Molisch is
more practical.

"How shall we explain the good effect of warm water on branches in a
resting state? We are absolutely ignorant of its mechanism, as we
are also in the case of etherification. But if we knew everything,
science would be no longer amusing!"--Condensed, from _THE LITERARY
DIGEST._

There are many new uses for water: It will not be long before every
truck and every commercial flower garden will have overhead
irrigation. This is merely gas pipes ("seconds" rejected for blow
holes or porosity are usually used) supported on posts say six feet
above the ground. They are usually placed parallel about fifty feet
apart, which will make four to the acre square, and have a single
row of holes and a handle on each pipe, so that the spray can be
turned in either direction; with a high-water pressure, often
supplied by gravity, they may be farther apart with larger holes.

These not only have saved us from fear of drought, but they supply
the moisture in the natural manner and at the right time and
increase fertility to an astonishing degree.

When you take a shower bath yourself, that is overhead irrigation.

The gasoline, kerosene, or heavy oil one man farm tractor, so made
that it can be used to plow, to climb a side hill, to run a saw or a
pump, is the coming factor in garden and farm advance. Huge fortune
awaits the first manufacturer who will standardize it, cheapen it,
and specialize on it. The horse is the greatest care and the
greatest risk on the little farm. He costs more than a tractor
would, he is eating his head off half the time, he can't he worked
overtime without injury, not even as much as a man can be; all too
soon he dies, more missed than any member of the family.

When this is popularized the "Three Acres" can well be extended to
five.






CHAPTER XXIV

SOME EXPERIMENTAL FOODS





FIFTY-EIGHT years ago Abraham Lincoln said "Population must increase
rapidly, more rapidly than in former times, and ere long the most
valuable of all arts will be the art of deriving subsistence from
the smallest area of soil. No community whose every member possesses
this art can ever be the victim of oppression in any of its forms.
Such community will alike be independent of crowned kings, money
kings, and land kings."

The future, it seems, has many strange dishes in store for the
American stomach. Whether you are rich or one of the plain people
that have to work, whether the idea of new fantastic food appeals to
your palate or to your pocketbook, you will be attracted by the
array of foreign viands with curious names which have already been
successfully introduced and are now beginning to be marketed in this
country. Mr. William N. Taft, in the Technical World Magazine,
presents the following wild menu for the dinner table:

Jujube Soup
Brisket of Antelope
Boiled Petsai
Dasheen au Gratin
Creamed Udo
Soy Bean and Lichee Nut Salad
Yang Taw Pie
Mangoes
Kaki
Sake.

This, he assures us, is not the bill of fare of a Chinese eating
house, nor yet of a Japanese restaurant, it is the daily meal of an
American family two decades hence, if the Department of Agriculture
succeeds in its attempt to introduce a large number of new foods to
this country for the dual purpose of supplying new dainties and
reducing the cost of living. Uncle Sam has determined to decrease
the price of food as much as possible, and, for this purpose,
delegated Dr. David S. Fairchild, Agricultural Explorer in charge of
the Foreign Plant Section of the Bureau of Plant Industry, in
particular, to see what can be done about it.

More than 30,000 fruits and vegetables have been tested by Uncle
Sam's experts and, according to Dr. Fairchild, a goodly portion of
the foodstuffs which have been regarded as staples since the days of
the first settler are doomed. Consider for example "Jujube Soup!"
Mention that to the average person and he will answer:

"But I thought the jujube was a fruit, like an apple. How can you
make soup of it?" The average person is right. The jujube is a
fruit--but a most remarkable one.

"It is about the size and appearance of a crab apple, but contains
only a single seed. It grows on a spiny tree, long and bare of
trunk, with its foliage cropping out at the very top like a royal
palm of the tropics. The jujube itself has been used for years to
flavor candies and other confections. But the essence is very
expensive and comparatively rare, despite the profusion with which
the fruit grows in its native habitat.

"Dr. Fairchild, however, imported several specimens for the
Department's gardens in California, where they are bearing
prolifically. The arid sands of the southwest, where nothing but
cactus and sage-brush formerly would grow, have been found to be
excellent soil for the jujube, and it is the hope of Uncle Sam's
food experts to see the entire Arizona and New Mexico deserts dotted
with jujube orchards, with income to their owners. The jujube is
delicious eaten raw, but it may be cooked in any manner in which
apples are prepared, used as a sauce or for pie, preserved or dried.
Finally, its juice may be used as a delicious and highly nutritive
fruit broth."

Petsai, or, as the Chinese have it, Pe-tsai, is a substitute for the
cabbage. In appearance it is as different from cabbage as can be
imagined. It is tall and cylindrical and its leaves are narrow,
delicately curled, with frilled edges. The petsai can, however, be
grown on any soil where the ordinary cabbage could be cultivated and
in many sections where the native vegetable would languish. We are
told it is no uncommon thing for a petsai to reach sixty pounds in
weight. Department of Agriculture officials, however, advise that it
be plucked when about eight pounds in weight, its flavor being then
the most delicate and appealing.

This new importation, Uncle Sam's experts hope, will cause a drop in
the price of dinners. Cabbage long ago ceased to be a cheap dish.
But petsai requires none of the care which has to be lavished on
cabbage and will thrive in almost any climate and any soil.

The soy bean, once started, grows wild and yields several crops a
season. It can be prepared in a multitude of ways, from baking to a
delicious salad. According to Doctor Yamei Kin, the head of the
Women's Medical School near Pekin, milk can be made from it to cost
about six cents a quart and equal to cows' milk. It would be a
blessing if we could get rid of the sacred but unclean cow. One of
the state dairy inspectors told me, "We consider milk a filthy
product."

It may be remembered that, only twenty years ago, almost all the
dates consumed here came from the oases of Arabia and the valley of
the Euphrates. To-day there are more than a hundred varieties
successfully produced in California and Arizona. The wonders of
today are the commonplaces of to-morrow, and there is no telling to
what apparently impossible lengths science will go to relieve people
of the burden they now bear in the price of food. It has scoured the
ends of the earth for new delicacies and now experts will do their
best to teach the people to use them.

Have you ever heard of _"Whitloof"_ or _"Belgian Chicory"_ or have
you ever dined in one of the better restaurants of large city where
they have served during the winter months a salad composed of golden
blanched oblong leaves about 2 inches wide and 5 inches long, only
the outer edges showing a faint green? It is as delicate as the
perfume of roses, as crisp as young lettuce, as delicious as
asparagus, and as ornamental upon the table as the freshest fruit.

In former years this salad had to be imported and you had to pay
dear for a portion of it, a good reason why so few people know it. A
Belgian farmer located near New York has grown many thousands of
these plants this past summer.

How would you like to grow this dainty salad right in your living
room and cut several crops from a single planting lasting nearly
three months? Secure an 8-inch pot and plant in it 12 roots packed
in light sandy soil or pure sand. Invert another but empty 8-inch
pot over this to keep out the light, place in a heated room, water
daily, and in from three to four weeks you will find full-grown
crowns, beautifully blanched ready for cutting. Six of such crowns
make a large portion, sufficient for an entire family.

In cutting, do not cut too close to the root, for another growth is
made directly after the cutting, which matures in from three to four
weeks, and still two other crops can be grown in this way, so that
from a single planting four full crops can be had. Considering,
then, that eight such treats can be had for the cost of a single
dozen roots, we can all now enjoy what was formerly a luxury. This
method is most interesting, for you can watch the daily progress of
the growth of the roots, fascinating to young and old, and with
three weekly plantings of a pot each this treat can be enjoyed twice
a week from the 1st of February until May.

For those who wish to enjoy it more often or in larger quantities,
we suggest the following:

Prepare a bed of soil 12 inches deep in your cellar in a dark place
where the temperature is always above freezing. Plant the roots as
close as their size will permit and cover the crowns with at least 3
inches of soil. On top of this put straw so that when the crowns
come through the soil they will not strike the light. When ready to
cut, remove the soil as far back as the original root so that you
can intelligently cut the growth to produce the crops to follow.

As a substitute for the potato of commerce the "Dasheen" long ago
passed the experimental stage. It has been served at a number of
banquets in Washington, Philadelphia, and New York.

While the tops of potatoes are useless as food, the tops of the
dasheen make delicious greens, and tests indicate that good growers
can depend on a crop of from four hundred to four hundred and fifty
bushels per acre.

The Udo is the plant intended by the Department of Agriculture as a
substitute for asparagus, a delicacy which it closely resembles. It
is more prolific than asparagus, grows in the same soil, and
requires less attention.

Not only plants but animals are experimented with by Uncle Sam's
experts. Officials of the Bureau of Animal Industry claim that
before long we will partake of antelope steak. For the antelope has
been found to be particularly adapted to the more arid western
sections of the country. And beyond that the gastronomist of the
future will have to reckon with loin of hippopotamus!

The lower valley of the Mississippi is admirably suited to these
huge beasts, the flesh of one of which equals a score of cattle.
African traveled epicures maintain that hippopotamus steak is as
tender and inviting as the choicest beef. "For those who like that
sort of thing, it is just the sort of thing they would like."

It seems a bit remote to urge hippopotamus on us who do not yet know
enough to eat sharks, tortoises, painted turtles, or even English
sparrows. Anyhow the small gardener is more likely to succeed
raising pheasants than to muss with a hippopotamus, at least in the
suburbs. Pigs are more practical and make prettier pets.

Our population bids fair to approximate two hundred million within
the next fifty years, and, because of the exigencies of business, an
increasing number of people will be engaged in non-food-producing
vocations. These people, however, are all consumers and must be fed
and clothed, and even now America offers the greatest market for the
produce of the farm that any farmer in any country has ever had in
all history.

One of the coming ways of feeding them is the discovery and use of
new foods. As in other things, after the war, whether we live in a
better world or not, we shall live in an entirely different world,
new ways, strange thoughts, and other foods. For the most of the
following, _Business America_ and _Current Opinion_ are responsible.

For the creation of new crop varieties or the improvement of those
now in use we must depend upon the practical scientists who are
engaged in plant breeding. The work of one of these, Professor
Buffum, has been accomplished in a region that is apparently sterile
and where plants grow only by coaxing through artificial moisture.

His plant-breeding farms near Worland in the Big Horn Basin of
Northern Wyoming lie at an elevation of 4000 feet, in a region of
almost total natural aridity.

After twenty years' work in Western agricultural colleges and
Government Experiment Stations, Professor Buffum chose his present
location because nowhere in the United States could he find
conditions of soil and climate that induce to such a remarkable
degree the breaking up of species, and mutation or "sporting" of
plants.

When the modern plant breeder seeks to produce something new by
cross-fertilization a problem is encountered. For many years we were
ignorant of the principle upon which nature operated in these
hybrids or crosses. Finally a Bohemian priest named Mendel
discovered the law. The central principle is that when the seed
produced from a cross between two different species is planted, the
progeny breaks up into well-defined groups. A certain percentage of
the plants resemble one of the parents, a smaller percentage are
like the other parent, and the rest seem to be a blend of both
parents. These intermediates will not breed true to themselves,
however; if seed from them is planted the progeny will split up into
groups, showing the same percentages as the first generation to
which they belonged. This has been generally accepted by scientists.

In many of his productions Professor Buffum apparently has set the
Mendelian law at defiance, for, by cross-fertilization, he has
evolved plants which breed true to themselves, and their progeny
does not break up into groups, according to the accepted theory.
They show specimens resembling each parent, with the third composed
of seemingly, but not really, blended specimens.

These results are particularly vital in the development of plants
adapted by selection for semi-arid agriculture. The Professor
believes that the great areas of high plain country to be found from
Canada to Mexico can be made more productive through planting crop
varieties that have been bred to withstand the existing conditions
which produce meagre returns from the vast expanse of territory
under the present methods.

In place of corn, which is difficult to mature even at moderate
elevations, Professor Buffum has introduced improved emmers and the
various hybrids resulting from crosses with other grains.

Emmer itself is not a new grain, having been grown for centuries in
Russia and southern Europe, and it is believed to have been the corn
of Pliny, which he said was used by the Latins for several centuries
before they knew how to make bread.

Several years ago emmer began receiving attention as a stock food.
The first planting of the grain at Worland resulted in some
exceptional "sports," seemingly of a different type, with coarse
straw and very large heads. With this as a basis, the seed was
replanted and subjected to many experiments to increase its drouth
and winter resisting qualities. Continued selections have shown, a
yield of from a third more to twice as much as corn, that it is
thirty per cent more valuable than oats for feeding horses, and that
for stock fattening it is equal to corn, pound for pound. It is the
most drouth-resistant and prolific of small grains, has been
successfully raised from Montana to Mexico, and is being planted in
Louisiana to replace oats because it is not affected by rust.

Some of the yields recorded are enormous, varying from 40 to 104
bushels per acre under dry farming, and as high as 152 bushels under
irrigation.

One stalk of Turkey red wheat was noticed as differing in many ways
from all varieties, principally that the head was over eight inches
in length, whereas the ordinary Turkey red wheat commonly used in
the West has a head of only four or five inches.

From this one stalk has been developed the Buffum No. 17 Winter
wheat. The heavy beards were eliminated and the grains or kernels in
each spikelet increased from the normal number of three to five,
seven, and even nine. The hardiness of the new variety, together
with its remarkably large head, means that when it is placed on the
market the farmers who sow it need not fear winter killing and will
have a splendid flouring grain, which will produce nearly double the
average crop per acre.

It is said that if a single kernel could be added to each head of
wheat, the increase in annual production of this country would
amount to over fifteen million bushels.

If fodder crops can be substituted for a part of the corn now used
for stock, it will be a great gain.

In his alfalfa-breeding garden, Professor Buffum is raising over
seventy different kinds, gathered from all parts of the world,
showing that the plant is capable of wide variations. One hybrid has
been obtained by crossing sweet clover with alfalfa; the clover
grows wild in every state in the Union.

There seems to be no limit to man's ingenuity and skill in plant
improvement. Perhaps sometime we will try it with our children.

In thirty years an exceptional ear of dent corn, through continued
planting and careful selection each succeeding season, resulted in a
few days' shortening of the growing period and an increased
resistance to the cool nights of the higher elevation where it was
under improvement; to-day, this corn matures about the middle of
August at an altitude of 4000 feet, and has been yielding forty to
sixty bushels per acre.






CHAPTER XXV

DRIED TRUCK





As a war measure the surplus vegetables in many city markets have
been forced by the governments into large municipal drying plants.
Community driers have been established in the trucking regions and
even itinerant drying machines have been sent from farm to farm
drying the vegetables which otherwise would have gone to waste.

The drying of vegetables may seem strange to the present generation,
but we are very young; to our grandmothers it was no novelty. Many
housewives even to-day prefer dried sweet corn to the canned, and
find also that dried pumpkin and squash are excellent for pie
making. Snap beans often are strung on threads and dried above the
stove. Cherries and raspberries still are dried on bits of bark for
use instead of raisins.

This country is producing large quantities of perishable foods every
year, which should be saved for storage, canned, or properly dried.
Drying is not a panacea for the waste evil, nor should it take the
place of storing or canning to any considerable extent where proper
storage facilities are available or tin cans or glass jars can be
obtained cheap.

For the farmer's wife the new methods of canning are probably better
than sun drying, which requires a somewhat longer time. But dried
material can be stored in receptacles which cannot be used for
canning. Then, too, canned fruit and vegetables freeze and cannot be
shipped as conveniently--in winter. Dried vegetables can be
compacted and shipped or stored with a minimum of risk. String them
up to the ceiling of the storeroom or attic.

A few apples or sweet potatoes or peas or even a single turnip can
be dried and saved. Even when very small quantities are dried at a
time, a quantity sufficient for a meal will soon be secured. Small
lots of dried vegetables, such as cabbage, carrots, turnips,
potatoes, and onions, can be combined to advantage for soups and
stews.

In general, most fruits or vegetables, to be dried quickly, must
first be shredded or cut into slices, because many are too large to
dry quickly, or have skins the purpose of which is to prevent drying
out. If the air applied at first is too hot, the cut surfaces of the
sliced fruits or vegetables become hard, or scorched, covering the
juicy interior so that it will not dry. Generally it is not
desirable that the temperature in drying should go above 140 deg to
150 deg F., and it is better to keep it well below this point. Insects
and insect eggs are killed by the heat.

It is important to know the degree of heat in the drier, and this
cannot be determined accurately except by a thermometer. Inexpensive
oven thermometers can be found on the market, or an ordinary
chemical thermometer can be suspended in the drier.

Drying of certain products can be completed in some driers within
two or three hours. When sufficiently done they should be so dry
that water cannot be pressed out of the freshly cut pieces, they
should not show any of the natural grain of the fruit on being
broken, and yet not be so dry as to snap or crackle. They should be
leathery and pliable.

When freshly cut fruits or vegetables are spread out they
immediately begin to evaporate moisture into the air, and if in a
closed box will very soon saturate the air with moisture. This will
slow down the rate of drying and lead to the formation of molds. If
a current of dry air is blown over them continually, the water in
them will evaporate steadily until they are dry and crisp. Certain
products, especially raspberries, should not be dried hard, because
if too much moisture is removed from them they will not resume their
original form when soaked in water.

The rotary hand slicer is adapted for use on a very wide range of
material. Don't slice your hand with it.

From an eighth to a quarter of an inch is a fair thickness for most
of the common vegetables to be sliced. To secure fine quality, much
depends upon having the vegetables absolutely fresh, young, tender,
and perfectly clean; one decayed root may flavor several kettles of
soup if the slices from it are scattered through a batch of
material. High-grade "root" vegetables can only be made from peeled
roots.

Blanching consists of plunging the vegetables into boiling water for
a short time. Use a wire basket or cheesecloth bag for this. After
blanching as many minutes as is needed, drain well and remove the
surface moisture from vegetables by placing them between two towels
or by exposing them to the sun and air for a short time.

A mosquito net is thrown over the product to protect the slices from
flies and other insects. Fruits and vegetables, when dried in the
sun, generally are spread on large trays of uniform size which can
be stacked one on top of the other and protected from rain by covers
made of oilcloth, canvas, or roofing paper.

A very cheap tray can be made of lath three fourths of an inch thick
and 2 inches wide, which form the sides and ends of a box, and
smoothed lath which is nailed on to form the bottom. As builders'
laths are 4 feet long, these lath trays are most economical of
material when made 4 feet in length.

A cheap and very satisfactory drier for use over the kitchen stove
can be made by any handy man of small-mesh galvanized-wire netting
and laths or strips of wood about 1/2 inch thick and 2 inches wide. By
using two laths nailed together the framework can be stiffened and
larger trays made if desirable. This form can be suspended from the
ceiling over the kitchen range or over a clear burning oil,
gasoline, or gas stove, and it will utilize the hot air which rises
during the cooking hour. It can be raised out of the way or swung to
one side by a pulley or by a crane made of lath. When the stove is
required for cooking, the frame is lowered or swung back to utilize
the heat which otherwise would be wasted. Still another home drier
is the cookstove oven. Bits of food, left overs, especially sweet
corn, can be dried on plates in a very slow oven or on the back of
the cookstove and saved for winter use.

Where the electric "juice" is not monopolized, an electric fan in
drying is economical, especially for those who already have a fan.

Many sliced fruits placed in long trays 3 by 1 foot and stacked in
two tiers, end to end, before an electric fan can be dried within
twenty-four hours. Some require much less time. For instance, sliced
string beans and shredded sweet potatoes will dry before a fan
running at a moderate speed within a few hours.

The dried fruit or vegetables must be protected from insects and
rodents, also from the outside moisture, and will keep best in a
cool, dry, well-ventilated place. In the more humid regions,
moisture-tight containers should be used. If a small amount of dried
product is put in each receptacle, just enough for one or two meals,
it will not be necessary to open a large container.

Your American ingenuity and the American practice of reading will
show you a lot of ways of saving waste: for example, frozen potatoes
are not necessarily spoiled, we are told by Mr. de Ronsic, a writer
in the _Reveil Agricole_. They may be dried and then cooked as
usual. The _Revue Scientifique_ (Paris), abstracting the article in
question, says:

"The potatoes must be dried to prevent decomposition, which takes
place very rapidly after they have thawed out. . . . "The oven
should be heated as for baking bread. Then, when it has reached the
necessary temperature, which is easily recognized, the potatoes are
put in, cutting up the largest. They are spread out in a layer so
that evaporation may easily take place, the door of the oven being
left open. From time to time the mass is stirred up with a poker to
facilitate the evaporation. When the drying has gone far enough, the
potatoes having become hard as bits of wood, they are withdrawn to
make room for others.

"Potatoes thus dried may be boiled with enough water to make a paste
similar to that which they would have furnished if mashed in the
ordinary manner, and which will answer very well, at least to feed
stock. The potatoes will be found to have lost none of their
nutritive value."

Even if you haven't any acres--yet, there isn't any law against
drying in the city. Either in sales or in saving it will help to pay
for the country place later and the country place can be made to pay
it back again.

Call your product say "Landers' Desiccated Beans" or "Glory's
Dehydrated Corn." They will sell better, they may even taste better,
trying to live up to the description. There's dollars in a name.

As a preservative ice must not be neglected. The _Country Gentleman_
says:

While the temperature is below the freezing point we should take
advantage of even short frosts to lay up ice for next summer. The
man without an ice pond need not be, without ice--he can freeze it
in pans outdoors. An ice plant of this sort will cost from fifteen
to twenty dollars.

A double tank should be made of galvanized iron. The inner
compartment of this tank should be ten feet long, two feet wide, and
twelve inches deep. The top of the tank should be slightly wider
than the bottom. The inner tank should be divided into six
compartments by means of galvanized iron strips. The double tank
should be placed near the outdoor pump, or stream, where it can
easily be filled.

Being exposed on all sides, the water will freeze in from one hour
to three hours. A bucket of hot water poured into the space between
the tanks will loosen the cakes of ice, each weighing 200 pounds.
Four tons of ice will last the average family a year. The cakes may
be packed away in the icehouse as they are frozen.






CHAPTER XXVI

HOME COLD-PACK CANNING





To save vegetables and fruits by canning is a patriotic duty. The
war makes the need for food conservation more imperative than at any
time in history. America is mainly responsible for the food supply
of the world. In this way the abundance of the summer may be made to
supply the needs of the winter.

By the modern cold-pack method it is as easy to can vegetables as to
can fruits. Some authorities say it is easier. At any rate, it is
more useful.

In the cold-pack method of canning, sterilization does away with the
danger of spoilage by fermentation or "working." Sterilization
consists in raising the temperature of the filled jar or can to a
germ-killing point and holding it there until bacterial life is
destroyed.

The word "container" is used to designate either the tin can or the
glass jar.

Single-period cold-pack canning, as distinguished from old-fashioned
preserving, offers a saving in time, labor, and expense, and
satisfactory results. As the foodstuffs are placed in the containers
before sterilization, they are cold and may be handled quickly and
easily. Then the sterilization period is frequently short. This is
time-saving. Finally, no rich preservatives, such as thick syrups or
heavily spiced solutions, are required. Fruits may be put up in thin
syrups. Vegetables require only salt for flavoring and water to fill
the container.

Another advantage of this method is that it is practicable to put up
food in small quantities. It pays to put up even a single container.
Thus, when there is a small surplus of some garden crop, or
something left over from the order from the grocer's, one can take
the short time necessary to place this food in a container and store
it for future use. This is true household efficiency--the kind
which, if practiced on a national scale, will conserve our war food
supply and will, after the war, cut heavily into the high cost of
living.

There are five principal methods of canning: (1) the cold-pack,
single-period method; (2) the intermittent, or fractional
sterilization method; (3) the cold-water method; (4) the open kettle
or hot-pack method; and (5) the vacuum-seal method. Of these the one
worked out on scientific lines by leading experts and used by many
commercial canners is so much the best method for home canning,
because of its simplicity and effectiveness, that it is recommended
by the National Emergency Food Commission and the details are
explained in their manual.

The cold-water method can be used effectively in putting up rhubarb,
green gooseberries, and a few other sour berry fruits. The process
is simple. The fruit is first prepared and washed and then blanched,
and finally packed practically raw in containers, which are next
filled with cold water and then sealed. Some sour fruits packed in
this way will keep indefinitely.

A serviceable outfit may be made of materials found in any
household. All that is necessary is a vessel to hold the jars or
cans--such as a wash boiler or a large tin pail. This should have a
tight-fitting cover. Provide a false bottom of wood or a wire rack
to allow for free circulation of water under the containers.

While suburban gardeners with large surplus of vegetables find it
desirable to use tin cans, being more easily handled for commercial
purposes, most of us find glass jars the more satisfactory and
economical containers for canned vegetables and fruits. This is
especially true when there is a shortage of tin cans. All types of
jars that seal perfectly may be used. Use may be made of those to
which one is accustomed or which may be already on hand. The rubbers
must be sound but the glass jars may be used indefinitely. Glass
jars are adapted for use in any of the cold-pack canning outfits. Be
sure that no jar is defective.

For use in the storing of products which are already sterilized,
such as jellies, jams, and preserves, and the bottling of fruit
juices, housewives may practice effective thrift by saving all jars
in which they receive dried beef, bacon, peanut butter, and other
products and bottles that have contained olives, catsup, and kindred
goods.

Blanching is important with most vegetables and many fruits. It
consists of plunging them into boiling water for a short time.
Spinach and other greens should be blanched in steam. To do this,
place them in an ordinary steamer or suspend them in a tightly
closed vessel above an inch or two of boiling water.

Blanching should be followed by the cold dip, plunging into cold
water after removal from the hot water. Cold dipping hardens the
pulp and preserves the original color, enhancing the appearance.
Blanching cleanses the articles and removes excess acids and strong
flavors and odors. It also causes shrinkage, so that a larger
quantity may be packed in a container. After blanching and cold
dipping, surface moisture should be removed by placing the
vegetables or fruits between two towels or by exposure to the sun.

All this is so simple and the directions so easily followed that the
average 12-year-old may successfully can vegetables or fruits. The
steps and the precautions are:

1. Select sound vegetables and fruits. (If possible can them the
same day they are picked.) Wash, clean, and prepare them.

2. Have ready, on the stove, a can or pail of boiling water.

3. Place the vegetables or fruits in cheesecloth, or in some other
porous receptacle--a wire basket is excellent--for dipping and
blanching them in the boiling water.

4. Put them whole into the boiling water. The Commission gives a
time-table for blanching. After the water begins to boil, begin to
count the blanching time; this varies from one to twenty minutes,
according to the vegetable or fruit.

5. When the blanching is complete, remove the vegetables or fruits
from the boiling water and plunge them a number of times into cold
water, to harden the pulp and check the flow of coloring matter. Do
not leave them in cold water.

6. The containers must be thoroughly clean. It is not necessary to
sterilize them in steam or boiling water before filling them, as in
the cold-pack process both the insides of containers and the
contents are sterilized. The jars should be heated before being
filled, in order to avoid breakage.

7. Pack the product into the containers, leaving about a quarter of
an inch of space at the top.

8. With vegetables add one level teaspoonful of salt to each quart
container and fill with boiling water. With fruits use syrups.

9. With glass jars always use a good rubber. Test the rubber by
stretching or turning inside out. Fit on the rubber and put the lid
in place. If the container has a screw top do not screw up as hard
as possible, but use only the thumb and little finger in tightening
it. This makes it possible for the steam to escape and prevents
breakage. If a glass top jar is used, snap the top bail only,
leaving the lower bail loose during sterilization. Tin cans should
be completely sealed.

10. Place the filled and capped containers on the rack in the
sterilizer. If the homemade or commercial hot-water bath outfit is
used, enough water should be in the boiler to come at least one inch
above the tops of the containers, and the water, in boiling out,
should never be allowed to drop to the level of these tops. Begin to
count processing time when the water begins to boil.

At the end of the sterilizing period remove the containers from the
sterilizer. Fasten covers on tightly at once, turn the containers
upside down to test for leakage, leave in this position until cold,
and then store in a cool, dry place. Be sure that no draft is
allowed to blow on glass jars, as it may cause breakage.

11. If jars are to be stored where there is strong light, wrap them
in paper, preferably brown, as light will fade the color of products
canned in glass jars, and sometimes deteriorate the food value.

That's the whole trick.






CHAPTER XXVII

RETAIL COOPERATION





COOPERATION in buying supplies at wholesale, in standardizing and
shipping crops, in keeping grain in elevators, and fruit and some
meats and poultry in cold storage has reached a high development
among the farmers largely in the Northwest, much ahead of us "city
folks."

There are more than five thousand active Farmers' Cooperation
Associations in the United States. Minnesota alone has over six
hundred cooperative creameries, some of which have a laundry annex.
The associations have six hundred and sixty thousand members and do
a business of nearly a thousand dollars a year for each member.
These are the people that we call "hayseeds"; if we could plant some
more such "seeds," it would be a good job. But in cooperative retail
domestic supply we are far behind England and other countries, even
behind Russia. That is partly because our better retail business
methods leave less room for the savings.

A simple and easy but important beginning of cooperation was where
each one took turns in delivering the milk and fetching supplies.
One farmer might do it all every day for a small charge.

The new South is developing a great business in this line. When you
go to New Orleans look up the stores whose letter head reads:

NELSON CO-OPERATIVE ASSOCIATION, INC.
_Food Suppliers_
OFFICE, 506 So. PETERS STREET. CREAMERY, ERATO ST.
WAREHOUSE, 511 SO. PETERS ST. BAKERY, ELYSIAN FIELDS AVE.
61 RETAIL STORES
4 MEAT MARKETS

In August, 1917, N. O. Nelson of the above concern writes in answer
to my request:

"It does not take 2500 words to tell all I know about Cooperation. I
trust the inclosed may be serviceable for your book, and shall feel
proud if it is.

"I am doing my job here for two very practical reasons; first, the
immediate service of reducing the cost of living to say 15,000
families, mostly poor; second, to introduce economy in retailing.

"The readers of such a book as yours are well aware of the wasteful
ways of retailing goods. In every town and city there is a
multiplication of stores, advertising clerks, teams, and other
incidentals.

"Likewise there is a lot of middle men and drummers, the buyers at
the producer's end, the wholesalers or middle men at the consumer's
end, with speculator and landowner at both ends. All of these have
to be supported by the system, and the dear consumer pays for it.

" The Cooperative store system, which was started in England 73
years ago, eliminates most of these waste expenses. The system has
kept spreading at an astonishing rate; in Great Britain there are
now 3 1/2 million members, and more than a billion of sales a year.
Other European countries are full of these stores. Many of the
retail stores have from twelve thousand to fifty thousand members;
their sales run into the millions. They are federated in a wholesale
agency which buys for them and manufactures on an extensive scale.

"By the economies thus introduced they are able to save regularly
about 15%, besides paying interest on the capital employed, and
accumulating a liberal surplus. It is simply a question of people
getting together (all civilization is), contributing their own money
and their trade, and thus avoiding all the waste expenses.

"It is a very democratic plan; anybody is welcome to join it; every
member has one vote and no more, they elect their directors, the
directors elect the managers, and the managers employ the clerks.
They sell at the market prices and every three or six months take
account of stock and rebate the profits in proportion to each
member's purchases, with half rate to non-members.

"It appeals to the economical sense of the ordinary housekeeper, and
to the ethical sense of those who want no advantage of their
neighbor. It prevents some from getting unduly rich and it helps to
keep many from being unduly poor.

"The same principle has spread into farmer's work, especially
Creameries. In Cooperative Creameries and Stores Russia has grown
faster in the last 15 years than any other country, having at last
reports over thirteen million members. This orderly getting together
for common social needs has much to do with the orderliness of the
Russian Revolution.

"The United States has made large progress in producers' cooperative
associations, but not much in stores.

"I have in New Orleans a system of 65 stores on a modified system;
it is a cooperative association but we sell at as low prices as can
be afforded, for cash in hand. The sales amount to about 2 1/2
millions, the most of it in the winter. The Association owns a
Bakery, a Creamery, Condiment Factory; and Coffee Factory, and a
1550-acre plantation. We are able to undersell the market about 20 %

"People anywhere can make a cooperative store if they take it
seriously. There should be about 200 members and $2000 in cash to
start with: then get an honest and intelligent manager; start with a
grocery, buy and sell for cash, either on the Rochdale plan of
selling at full market prices and dividing the profits periodically,
or on my plan of selling as cheaply as can be afforded. In either
plan it works out into producing a large part of the goods sold,
thus eliminating entirely the superfluous middleman.

"Three acres and Liberty is the correct way of producing a living;
with the adjunct of a cooperative store to do the selling of the
surplus produced and the buying of goods needed, the small farmer is
free from all the waste and trammels of trade."

Now what's the matter with your helping your county and country and
humanity by organizing those two hundred waiting buyers in your own
town? You can be the "honest and intelligent manager" at a decent
salary. If, later, the cooperators want another manager, why you can
easily organize another store. The best information on this subject
is the Cooperative News, Manchester, England; subscription two
dollars.

Evidence is daily accumulating that the food and farm problem is not
so easy as many thought it to be a few months ago. This is made
clear when economists say: "The really important question in the
food problem is not distribution, it is production." It is
unfortunate that this statement should gain belief at this time,
when those who prey upon the producer are watching for any support
from whatever direction.

Passing by the obvious fact that production must precede
distribution, notice that, with all the energy that has been devoted
to production of farm products by the government experts, it is
clear that not only is there a shortage, but that it has required
all kinds of inducements, from the President down, to get the
farmers to increase their output, the most potent of all being the
cry of patriotism.

Some explain this by showing how land monopoly prevents men going
back to the farms. While this is perfectly true, it does not answer
the question why farmers now in possession of farms are not working
them near their capacity.

The answer of the ordinary man to this is inefficiency on the part
of the farmer, and up to the present this idea has passed as
sufficient to account for the situation. The publicity given the
whole farm question during the past six months, however, has to a
large extent dispelled the inefficiency answer, as the farmer has
responded so completely to the call, and the amateurs are beginning
to realize that there is something in farming besides tickling the
earth with a feather. All the facts so far brought out show the
farmer abundantly able to produce all the foodstuffs needed,
provided he has a reasonable certainty that he will be able to
dispose of his produce at a price that will give him a fair return
for his labor. This being the case, it is easy to see that putting
more men back on farms would not remedy the condition we are now in;
but would rather increase the difficulty.

The fact is, the two blades of grass theory has been exploded, the
increased production cry has been tried out, carried to its logical
conclusion, and found wanting, and the inefficiency explanation has
been proved a falsehood on its face. It is, therefore, obvious that
with a proper system of distribution, the entire question of
production will take care of itself; but just so long as the
producers find it unprofitable to produce food, just so long will
they have to figure carefully not to grow too much, or it would be
better for them had they grown nothing at all.

The reason why we have such divergent ideas on this subject is that
so many people write about it who have had no experience in farming,
while on the other hand there are few farmers who can state the case
so the public can grasp the most obvious facts.

Finally, it is a question of the government doing what it ought not
to have done and leaving undone those things it ought to have done.
It has granted to a few monopolies transportation and terminal
facilities which enable them to hold up deliveries and thus control
prices. The remedy lies in seeing that the government attend to its
own business, which is securing equality of opportunity for all, and
special privileges to none.

It follows that cooperation should not stop either at production or
at distribution. It must embrace the source of both, nor even stop
at governmental plans of small holdings.

As a business enterprise, combining philanthropy and percentage,
capital has an opportunity.

Accordingly an option should be secured upon a large piece of land
not over forty miles from a large city, near a railroad station. The
transportation at first is not important, as the new commuters will
make a demand for it, and cheap autos will largely fill the gap; it
will improve rapidly.

If possible it should have a lake or a fair stream on it for
irrigation and small water power; the soil should be examined by
experts, to see that it is suitable for trucking and market
gardening.

The object should be to make a sort of vacant lot gardening plan on
a grand scale. Heretofore the trouble has been that we have been
unable to get land where there was any assurance that we could have
it again the second year, and that the limited amount of land makes
it impossible to give the men as much as they ought to have. They do
not need much land, because a man working at intensive culture with
only the rough plowing done for him cannot take good care of much
more than one acre of land. He will probably make as much money out
of one acre of land as he will out of two. Those who are willing to
work should be given one acre of land, with the assurance that they
can have it as long as they work it faithfully and comply with the
simple rules which we have found so effective in the Vacant Lot
Gardening work,--which are practically, that a man should attend to
business and not annoy his neighbors. No contract or lease should be
given the men, or indeed the women, for both work such gardens, as
they have been doing for the past twenty years in several large
cities, making at least a living upon the land and often a very
large return.

There must be a competent superintendent, for everything depends
upon him, who would show the men what land they should use, what
they should put in, instruct them how to do it, and market their
products cooperatively. Experience in Philadelphia, and in some
score of other cities where they have established Vacant Lot
Gardens, shows that about ten per cent annually of the people prefer
to work for others, and consequently take places in the country
after they have learned to do market gardening. Some others, being
dissatisfied with so little land, and wanting to own their own
place, go off and buy land or lease it for themselves. This makes a
constant drain from the gardens, leaving openings for others who
will learn in time their trade; it is possible to make in this way a
steady drain out of the cities to the country, and what is better
still, an automatic drain.

The land must be so near to a center of population that it may be
possible to take a gang of men down there in the morning, show them
what it is, and send back those who do not seem likely to make good,
or who are dissatisfied; and that when men get their gardens
successfully running, they may be able to bring their friends there
to see what they have done, and say to them, "Go thou and do
likewise."

I have been at Trudeau, Saranac Lake, and at Stony Wold, the
consumptive sanitariums, and found there both by observation and by
testimony that to send back the convalescents to the bench or the
workshop from which they came is practically to repronounce upon
them the sentence of death from which the sanitarium has offered
them a reprieve. The only practical thing to do with such
convalescents, and with such persons who are not capable of their
ordinary avocations, is to get them in some way upon the land. There
is a large demand for persons who understand the new intensive
gardening, and places can be found for more than we can hope to
educate in that line.

There should be buildings upon the land sufficient to bunk one
hundred to one hundred and fifty men; accommodations could be made
with the small timber for a considerable number. Many of these men
would need some help, but most of them would shift for themselves if
only they could get the opportunity to build upon the land and to
have a secure tenure of it. A mere tenant knows that it is bunkum
when he says "Our Country."

It is perfectly practicable to sell about one half of the land in a
year or two, and have a thousand acres or more left free and clear,
which will cost the promoters nothing. Renting this out or selling
it will repay the whole cost, and probably bring a large profit
besides.

This is no experiment, it is only to do the thing that we have been
doing under various conditions with various sorts of men in
different localities for the past twenty years in the Vacant Lot
Gardens: namely, to give men the opportunity of living upon and
cultivating land, putting up their own tents, shacks, or bungalows,
and giving them such instruction and such help as does not cost
anything more than the salary of the superintendent. There are
abundant men who can make good and shift for themselves under those
circumstances; the men who are available are single men, such men as
those for whom Mr. Hallimond, a clergyman working in the Bowery, has
been finding rural employment in the past ten years. Also many
families will come to us through the Vacant Lot Gardens and the
Little Land agitation. People such as these will increase the land
value, for every decent man carries around with him at least five
hundred dollars' worth of increase in land values which his presence
adds to somebody's holdings of land. The struggle to pocket this
increase accounts for much of the human drift from the field to the
factory.

God made the country; man made the city--and the devil made the
suburbs, by the aid of the speculator.

Alpha of the Plough says in the London _Star:_ "I was walking with a
friend along the Spaniards-road the other evening talking on the
inexhaustible theme of these days, when he asked, 'What is the
biggest thing that has happened to this country as the outcome of
the war?'

"'It is within two or three hundred yards from here,' I replied.
'Come this way and I'll show it to you.'

"He seemed a little surprised, but accompanied me cheerfully enough
as I turned from the road and plunged through the gorse and the
trees towards Parliament Fields, until we came upon a large expanse
of allotments, carved out of the great playground, and alive with
figures, men, women, and children, some earthing up potatoes, some
weeding onion beds, some thinning out carrots, some merely walking
along the patches, and looking at the fruits of their labor
springing from the soil. 'There,' I said, 'is the most important
result of the war.'

"He laughed, but not contemptuously. He knew what I meant, and I
think he more than half agreed.

"And I think you will agree, too, if you will think what that
stretch of allotments means. It is the symptom of the most important
revival, the greatest spiritual awakening this country has seen for
generations. Wherever you go, that symptom meets you. Here in
Hampstead allotments are as plentiful as blackberries in autumn. A
friend of mine who lives in Beckenham tells me there are fifteen
hundred in his parish. In the neighborhood of London there must be
many thousands. In the country as a whole there must be hundreds of
thousands. If dear old Joseph Fels could revisit the glimpses of the
moon and see what is happening, see the vacant lots and waste spaces
bursting into onion beds and potato patches, what joy would be his!
He was the forerunner of the revival, the passionate pilgrim of the
Vacant Lot: but his hot gospel fell on deaf ears, and he died just
before the trumpet of war awakened the sleeper.

"Do not suppose that the greatness of this thing that is happening
can be measured in terms of food. That is important, no doubt, but
it is not the most important thing. I am confident that it will add
more than anything else to the spiritual resources of the nation. It
is the beginning of a war on the disease that is blighting our
people. What is wrong with us? What is the root of our social and
spiritual ailment? Is it not the divorce of the people from the
soil? For generations the wholesome red blood of the country has
been sucked into the great towns, and we have built up a vast
machine of industry that has made slaves of us, shut out the light
of the fields from our lives, left our children to grow like weeds
in the slums, rootless and waterless, poisoned the healthy instincts
of nature implanted in us, and put in their place the rank growths
of the streets. Can you walk through a working-class district or a
Lancashire cotton town, with their huddle of airless streets,
without a feeling of despair coming over you at the sense of this
enormous perversion of life into the arid channels of death? Can you
take pride in an Empire on which the sun never sets when you think
of the courts in which, as Will Crooks says, the sun never rises?

"And now the sun is going to rise. We have started a revolution that
will not end until the breath of the earth has come back to the soul
of the people. The tyranny of the machine is going to be broken. The
tyranny of the land monopoly is going to be lifted. Yes, you say,
but these people that I see working on the allotments are not the
people from the courts and the slums; but professional men, the
superior artisan, and so on. That is true. But the movement must get
hold of the _intelligenzia_ first. The important thing is that the
breach in the prison is made; the fresh air is filtering in; the
idea is born--not still-born, mind you, but born a living thing. It
is a way of salvation that will not be lost, and that all will
travel.

"We have found the land, and we are going back to possess it. Take a
man out of the street and put him in a garden, and you have made a
new creature of him. I have seen the miracle again and again. I know
a bus conductor, for example, outwardly the most ordinary of his
kind. But one night I mentioned allotments, touched the key of his
soul, and discovered that this man was going about his daily work
irradiated by the thought of his garden triumphs. He had got a new
purpose in life. He had got the spirit of the earth in his bones. It
is not only the humanizing influence of the garden, it is its
democratizing influence too.

"When Adam delved and Eve span
Where was then the gentleman?'
You can get on terms with the lowliest if you will discuss gardens."






CHAPTER XXVIII

SUMMER COLONIES FOR CITY PEOPLE





(Condensed from the Annual Report of the U. S. Department of the
Interior of the Commissioner of Education. Vol. 2, now out of
print.)

BERLIN has not been boastful of a new sociological feature which it
has developed within the last fifteen years, a feature so
revolutionary in its bearing upon education and upon the general
health of future generations, that it should be made known to the
world. As yet little has been said about this new agency. It may be
because it is not a governmental institution, but the result of
self-help and of the recognition of a plain necessity. It may be
assumed that if the summer colonies had been instituted by the
government for the great majority who are poor it would not have
succeeded so well as it has.

The teachers, seeing that the horizon of their pupils was limited by
brick and mortar (for open park spaces are rare in Berlin), came to
the conclusion that only by giving their pupils opportunity to live
in the open air could they lay a sound foundation of knowledge of
natural objects and processes as a basis for school studies. The
teachers of themselves, however, could apply only palliative
remedies, such as having sent to them, from the botanical gardens,
thousands of specimens of plants, twigs, flowers, fruit, etc., for
nature study in the schoolroom; planting flower beds around the
schoolhouses; also, brief excursions into parks, and hanging up
before the class colored pictures of landscapes and rural scenery.

While in many cases, especially in large cities, the necessity was
recognized of getting the children out of the great desert of brick
and mortar into the open air and into companionship with life in the
field, the garden, the brooks, and the woods, it had nowhere
resulted in a systematic effort to aid the children of an entire
city in that way until it was tried in Berlin. Of course it is well
understood, not only abroad, but in New York and in other large
cities of this country, that something must be done to alleviate the
want of space and fresh air, and so recreation piers and roof
gardens are provided, excursions of schools into parks are
undertaken, open-air playgrounds are instituted, and similar efforts
are made tending to mitigate the evil effects of city life; but all
these efforts are merely sporadic or temporary; they do not attack
the evil at the roots; moreover they are only drops in the bucket
when compared with that which is necessary.

This tendency to cooperative and collective action has resulted in
this particular case in thousands of the children's _"Arbor
Gardens"_ round about the city. It is an experience "en gros," one
of such dimensions that cavil ceases and admiration rises supreme.

The German poor are very poor indeed, but parents were induced to
rent, at a price of 4 marks ($1) or about 20 cents a month from May
to October for the summer season, a patch of land in the suburbs of
Berlin unfit for farmland because cut up by railroad tracks and
newly laid-out streets. On one of these patches a family might erect
an arbor, or a small structure of boards with a wide veranda and a
corrugated iron roof, for housing themselves and children during the
summer months. The dwellings are of the most primitive kind and
rather flimsy; no permanent structure can be allowed, for at any
time the owner of the land may give notice to vacate for the purpose
of erecting a row of houses, railroad buildings, or other permanent
structures. The tenants themselves build fences of wire or plant
hedges to keep the different plots apart. On these patches the
children, under the guidance of teachers, parents, and appointed
guardians, began to sow flower seeds, plant shrubs, vines, and
trees, or raise kitchen vegetables, each group or family according
to its own desires and needs. Since the "arbors" are small they do
not decrease the arable land of the allotments much, and there is
still room left for swings, gymnastic apparatus, and similar
contrivances, as well as bare sandy spots for little tots to play
in. The various allotments are mostly uniform in size and are
reached by narrow three- or four-foot lanes, on which occasionally
are seen probationary officers or guardians who keep the peace and
settle cases of disturbance.

The "arbor gardens" are established on every square rod of unused
land round about the city, on vacant lots, far out to the borders of
the well-trained woods and royal forests. Small tradesmen, laboring
men, civil officials of low degrees, etc., have found it profitable
to forsake their tenements in the city and move kith and kin into
those "arbor colonies." The tenements in Berlin are as bad as in our
own big cities, only better policed.

Not all of these arbor gardens are occupied by families during the
night. Thousands return to their city homes evenings. Some parents,
unable to free themselves from toil in town, send their children
under guidance of servants, and spend only occasional Sundays and
holidays with them.

The people, especially the children, getting some information
concerning the treatment of the crops from competent advisers in
school and out in the arbor colonies, derive great good from their
horticultural and floricultural work. Families who are aesthetically
inclined devote their space to flowers and trailing vines
exclusively; others, utilitarians from necessity, plant potatoes,
carrots, turnips, beets, beans, strawberries, and the like. The
feeling of ownership being strongly developed in the children in
seeing the results of their own labor, the crops are respected by
the neighbors and pilfering rarely occurs, except perhaps in a case
of great hunger.

Several hundred or a thousand of such patches of land, or gardens,
situated in close proximity to each other, form an arbor colony,
which has a governor, or mayor, who is an unpaid city official. He
arranges the leasing of the land, collects the rents, and hands them
over to the gratified landowners who don't even have to collect
them. There is always a retired merchant or civil officer to fill
the office, to which is attached neither title, emolument, nor
special honor. He is assisted by a "colonial committee" of trustees
selected from the colonists, who act as justices of the peace, in
case disturbances should arise. If colonists prove frequent
disturbers of the peace or are found incapable of living quietly,
their leases are not renewed. Of course there are such cases, but
they are rare.

Since the size of an "arbor garden" is from about two sixteenths to
three sixteenths of an acre, say two or three New York City Lots,
those forming a colony make a considerable community, in which the
authority of the committee, or board of trustees, is absolute, and
the few cases they have had to adjudicate have generally been caused
by nagging women. It is claimed in the press that these colonists
are literally without scandals, and that the life led by young and
old is a most peaceful and happy one. People who are hard at work
are not likely to be quarrelsome: good wholesome food, much exercise
in play and labor, and an abundance of fresh air and sunshine are
conducive to happiness, especially as the clothing may be of a
primitive kind, or need not conform to the dictates of fashion.

A teacher remarked: "It is noticeable that since these school
children are engaged in lucrative work which does not go beyond
their strength, and since they see with their own eyes the results
of their labor, a sense of responsibility is engendered which has a
beneficial influence upon school work also. Respect for all kinds of
labor and a decrease in the destructiveness so often found among
boys are unmistakable effects of the arbor gardens. It is not easy
work which the children perform, for spade and rake require muscular
effort; but it is ennobling work, for it leads to self-respect,
self-dependence, and respect for others, as well as willingness to
aid others. The most beautiful sight is afforded when, on a certain
date agreed on by the members of a colony, a harvest festival is
held. Then flag raisings and illuminations and singing and music
make the day a memorable one."

Most of the families had not the means to buy the lumber and
hardware to erect an "arbor," and yet they were the very ones to
whom the life in the open would be of the greatest benefit. Hence
philanthropy erected the structures. The Patriotic Woman's League of
the Red Cross built half of all the "arbors" of the colony found on
the "Jungfernheide." Many colonies reach into the woods, and
naturally are of a different character from those in the open, for
there tents are used instead of wooden structures. For protection
during the night watchmen pace up and down the lanes; this before
the war entailed a cost of 7 1/2 cents a month to each family. The
season lasts from May 1 to October 1.

The school-going population meanwhile attend their schools, which
used to be reached by means of the elevated cars or surface tramways
for 2 1/2 cents and much cheaper if they have commuters' tickets. Many
schools are near enough to be reached on foot. The children do not
loiter on the way, but when school is out they hurry "home" to begin
work in the garden, or to sit down to a meal on the veranda, which
is relished far more than a meal in a city tenement house filled
with fetid air and wanting in light. Nearly every one of these
gardens has a flagpole, and at night a Japanese paper lantern with a
tallow dip in it illuminates the veranda. These, with flags by day,
make a festive appearance. The teachers find that city children who
spend the five months in the open air are well equipped with
elementary ideas in physical geography and astronomy. Their mental
equipment is better, indeed, in all fields of thought, their
physical health is improved, as well as their ethical motives and
conduct.

To realize the full extent of these wholesale efforts (for put
children into close contact with nature and they will improve in all
directions), it is well to take a ride on the North belt line
(elevated steam railroad), the trains of which start from the
Friedrich's street depot and bring one back after a ride of an hour
and a half. Then one may do the same on the South belt line. On
these two trips one will see, not hundreds, but tens of thousands of
such "arbor gardens" full of happy women and children at work or
play. The men come out on the belt line when their work in town is
done. The writer was riding through the city on an open cab, and
seeing hardly any children on the streets and in the parks, he
asked, "How is it that we see no children out?" "Ah, sir," was the
reply, "if you will see the children of Berlin you must go out to
the arbor colonies outside of the city. There is where our children
are." Subsequent visits to these colony gardens showed that Berlin
is by no means a childless city. To judge from the multitudinous
arbors to be seen from the windows of the belt line cars there must
be 50,000 to 75,000 of them. As far as the eye reaches the
flagpoles, the orderly fences, and the little structures can be
seen; and since the city has 2,000,000 inhabitants, it is very
likely that an estimate made by a city official of several hundred
thousands of children thus living in the open air, is not excessive.
The most beautiful and best-arranged gardens are not found in the
vicinity of railroads, but several miles out toward the north and
the south of the city. Here, where the soil is better, fine crops
are raised.

If we turn our eyes homeward and contemplate the many thousands of
small efforts made in this country toward the alleviation of city
children's misery, we can say truthfully that we in America are
perhaps fully alive to the necessity which has prompted the people
of Berlin to action; we only need to be reminded of Mayor Pingree's
potato patches on empty city lots, our children's outing camps, our
occasional children's excursions, and the like. Still, there is
nothing in this country to compare with the thousands of Berlin
"arbor gardens" and their singularly convincing force. Like a
circus, all this is supposed to be for the children, though it
usually seems to need about two grown people to escort each child.
The elders enjoy the gardens even more than the circus.

The arbor gardens of Berlin should not be mistaken for the numerous
"forest schools" (Waldschulen) in Germany. These schools "in the
woods" are for sickly children, both physically crippled and
mentally weak. The pupils have their lessons in the open, and the
teachers live, play, and work with them; long recesses separate the
various lessons and a two-hour nap in the middle of the day out in
the open is on the time-table of every one of these schools. These
special open-air schools for weaklings and defectives are now found
in many parts of Germany, notably in Charlottenburg, Strassburg, and
the industrial regions of the Rhineland.

The example of Berlin has been followed in other German cities, such
as Munich, notably in Dusseldorf on the Rhine, where the arbor
gardens are called "Schreber gardens" in honor of the man who
promoted their establishment. There is a large colony of such
gardens along the Hans-Sachs street, where Lima beans, peas,
lettuce, cucumbers, potatoes, and many other garden vegetables are
raised; even strawberries, raspberries, and fruit trees are found
here. But the city being more lavishly provided with parks and open
spaces than others of its size, the necessity for open-air life has
not made itself felt as forcibly as in Berlin.

And think of the cleansing influence of all this. Light and air and
labor--these are the medicines not of the body only, but of the
soul. It is not ponderable things alone that are found in gardens,
but the great wonder of life, the peace of nature, the influences of
sunsets and seasons and of all the intangible things to which we can
give no name, not because they are small, but because they are
outside the compass of our speech. The God that dwells in gardens is
sufficient for all our needs--let the theologians say what they
will.

"'Not God! in gardens? When the eve is cool?
Nay, but I have a sign--
'Tis very sure--God walks in mine.'"



End of the Project Gutenberg Etext of Three Acres And Liberty, by Bolton Hall


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