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Title: Truck farming in the Everglades
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Table of Contents
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Full Text


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Truck Farming
The Everglades


W 3s 1#-



I. To the Prospective truck Gardener............ 5
II. Agricultural Schools .......................... 7
III. The Man Fitted for the Business............... 9
IV. Capital Required ............................. 12
V. Location and Selection of Soil................ 15
VI. The Everglade Section ....................... 17
VII. Preparation of the Land...................... 21
VIII. No Present IDanger of Overproduction .......... 23
IX. Selling F. O. B.............................. 26
X Drainage ............... ..... ..... ....... 29
X I. Irrigation ................................... 34
XII. Stable Manure and Fertilizer .................. 38
XIII. Culture of Tomatoes......................... 48
XIV. Culture of Potatoes.................. ........ 55
XV. Culture of Peppers ........................... 60
XVI. Culture of Egg Plants....................... 65
XVII. Culture of Beans ............................. 70
XVIII. Culture of Celery ............................. 75
XIX. Culture of Cucumbers....................... 81
XX. Culture of Cauliflower and Cabbage............ 84
XXI. Culture of Lettuce.......................... .89
XXII. Culture of Watermelons and Muskmelons........ 91
XXIII. Culture of Onions........................... 93
XXIV. Culture of Okra............................ 96
XXV. Culture of Squash and Pumpkins ............. 98
XXVI. Culture of Sweet Potatoes................... 99
XXVII. Culture of Strawberries ...................... 102
XXVIII. Culture of Bananas........................... 105
XXIX. Culture of Paw-Paws.......................... o8
XXX. Culture of Pineapples ........... .. .......... 112
XXXI. Culture of Jamaica Sorrel..................... 116
XXXII. Culture of Forage Plants.................... 118
XXXIII. Insects and Fungi ........ .............. ... 123
XXXIV. Tree Growing in Connection With Trqckring.... 129
XXXV. Notes on Frost............................... 132
XXX V I. Birds ....................................... 137
XXXVII. Summary .......... ........................ 139









O the city man, living on a salary, often in a
dark or stuffy office, always an underling,
working in a narrow gr.",.\>, dependent on
today's wages for tomorrow's food, the inde-
pendent countryman's life must appeal, for he
is a free man, master of himself, is conversant
with nature in its many moods, enjoys the first
fruits of the earth with the gleam' still on them,
and all its first impulses and pleasures. Often, as we hear country
boys, on the threshold of manhood, taunted with being farmers, it
makes me feel that the city boy requires training other than agri-
cultural to teach him relative values.
City people sojourning in the country for fresh air and cheaper
living, looking down on the farmer as inferior, will scarcely
believe that it requires more brains to run a farm properly than
to sit over a ledger, nor can they fathom the many experiences
that the countryman must necessarily first master before he can
be classed as a successful landholder.
The city, glistening with its many frivolities, has drawn young
people from the country to such an alarming extent that universal
comment has been aroused, much the larger percentage of our
population being today engaged in other than pastoral pursuits.
This in itself would not be so alarming, were it not that the vitality
of our nation is being drained proportionately, for it is a well-
known fact, if the country should today cease to replenish the city
with new blood, the city would sogn die for want of population.
No wonder, then, the cry of today is, "Back to the farm and
nature." And back we must and will go, for this threatening
catastrophe is too appalling to be passed by unchallenged.


Will not.this undue proportion of population tending city-
wards have the effect of still enhancing the price of all farm
products? This great question has already been answered by the
protests against high prices of our entire population, re-echoing as
it has to the farthest corners of our civilized land. In direct con-
sequence of this unbalanced condition of population, all food
products have advanced to an almost prohibitive figure. This
seems particularly so during the long winter months, when fresh
farm products are to be grown only in the far South.
Will it not be wise to inquire into the probable results of this
extraordinary situation? Without penetrating further, has not
the far-seeing individual, though hopelessly in the minority,
already found the necessary remedy to combat this, which we
must admit is a great and menacing evil? He has already con-
cluded to not only rebuild this tottering economic structure by
getting "back to the land," but to replenish his depleted bank
account, and wisely so.
That this feeling has already taken root is proven by the
remarkable inquiry for farm lands throughout the entire country,
and particularly in the extreme South and Southeast, for he who
is wise enough to foresee this great tendency wishes to enjoy with
his family and progeny not only everlasting summer, but at the
same time to avoid the rigorous Northern winters. No wonder,
then, that once it was announced that the great rich body of land
in South Florida known as the Everglades would be reclaimed,
thousands began to avail themselves of the valuable opportunity
to secure a home and a livelihood in this superb climate-in a
country where fortunes have been and will be made, with probably
less exertion, on a smaller body of land, under more pleasant
circumstances, and in less time than in any known place on earth.



GRICULTURAL education is at last recognized
and conceded to be a necessity for the advance-
ment of a nation. Our far-seeing statesmen
recognize the value of the scientific advance-
ment of agriculture and are gradually awaken-
ing to the fact that it is of more importance to
a nation than mere Dreadnaughts. Well devel-
oped farming communities are worth more in-
trinsically than overpopulated business centers. Elementary agri-
culture is now being taught in many schools, and as soon as its
real value is exploited will become the fundamental study in all
schools. It is already being recognized as the real foundation of
business prosperity.
The farm is where sound minds grow in sound bodies, and
where the perfection of intelligence is attained. It is here where
high moral standards flourish and are brought to still higher ele-
vations. He who is brought up amidst verdant nature, unham-
pered and uncontaminated by vulgar business methods such as are
practiced and are prevalent in thickly settled cities, is in possession
of a much higher development of manhood and is apt to
attain such positions of prominence as will satisfy man's highest


atxa. IN





ERE I to select an ideal for this business, it
would, of course, be a man of not only unusual
strength of body and character but one having
a great amount of both common sense and per-
severance. Unfortunately, very few men have
all of these qualities, but those who have weaker
bodies often have the other essentials to a more
marked degree. If you think you are a hustler,
or rather if your neighbors think you are (and that is the only
true sign), if you are of a persevering nature, if you are a friend
of outdoor labor, if you don't get tired easily, even though you
have but the ordinary vitality and strength, you can, and most
likely will, make a successful farmer.
The veritable giant, with all his strength and stature, is often
outdone by the ordinary man, possessed of the other useful char-
acteristics, for often weather or other conditions over which he
has no control interfere very seriously with the countryman's
plans, and in a short time practically annihilate his efforts. It is
then that the man with perseverance and stability comes to the
front and often builds great success upon the very ashes of former
failures. That this quality is necessary is easily proven, for each
and every farmer, be he ever so successful, can recount at least
one and often more incidents in his past in which his best efforts
have been utterly wasted through no fault of his own whatever.
There is no mystery in the business; but success depends upon
hard work, good judgment and capable business management.
In a word, he who is successful elsewhere is apt to be more
successful here, his only competitor, the average Southern farmer,
being not only a very indifferent business man, but often not


overly industrious; whereas, his Northern brother is generally in
possession of both these virtues, and is, in addition, of an econom-
ical disposition, a quality sadly lacking in most of our Southern
tillers of the soil. This shiftless lack of economy and industry.
so eminently characteristic in the South, is not caused, as is so
often asserted, by climatic conditions, but rather by a lack of edu-
cational facilities for the vouth as well as the adult. For who will
deny that the Northern farmer, together with his forefathers,
has been forced into economy and frugality for centuries past by
his competitors in business.? This condition has never con-
fronted the Southerner, he experiencing no privations caused by
long winters which make inroads upon his purse. It. is, therefore.
a fact that the Northern husbandman, educated as he is in a supe-
rior manner, has many advantages in the South.
Shall the prospective growetr comne to this part of the country?
Yes, by all means; and although certain branches may be and will
be overdone, we have up t,: the present time been unable to supply
even a small percentage of the country 's population with our prod-
ucts. We will soon learn t.. .It r-iift'y and when we get to raising
sugar cane, rice, etc., we will certainly run short of land. Thus.
though the field be large, the posibilities are larger.
Our matchless climate, i; a great tlmptatii.,n_ to prospective
immigrants. Many come here \\ ho canni:it endure the rigid North-
ern climate; others (and I fetr the mna.ijrity) come here tempted
by the fabulous prices often received b\ Lus fior our products-in
other words, they are attracted by the almighty dollar alone. To
these poor, grasping indi iduala I \\ ish to: extend nmy sympathy,
for I certainly feel sorry f.-r th %-,e hi:, d:. niot naturally love their
vocation; who cannot honestl. admire nature and her many beau-
tiful products; who do not cv\en feel inspired or spurred onward
by smaller successes to larger ones.
Yes, indeed, he who cannot \\ork hand in hand with nature-
who sees only the dollar wheln others admire beautiful nature-
certainly deserves derisio:i rnly. and can be regarded only with
abject pity. On the other hand. he who loves nature and tries to
operate with it is uniform successful, his rewards being double,
the money consideration being secondary, though often-yes.

_ _i~(_~~~



ROBABLY nowhere can an individual start a
business, agricultural or otherwise, with less
cash than right here in 'South Florida, and
nowhere can the agriculturist find a better place
to invest his money.
A man can, if he has strength. perseverance,
and knows the business, make a fortune here
with but little capital; in fact, all of our lead-
ing truckers came here poor, and I do not know of a single one
who brought much capital with which to start. It therefore seems
not so much a matter of how much capital a man has, but rather
how he invests it.
The successful go at a thing without bluster and have accom-
plished the greater part of their undertakings before their neigh-
bor is aware of it. On the other hand, the boastful beginner
often ends in ignominious failure. A conservative estimate of
the amount of cash required to start a truck farm here will
depend, therefore, much on the individual himself.
Allowing he has a five or ten acre farm, including house and
shed room, he will need, in addition, a horse or mule ($150),
wagon and harness ($50), implements and incidentals ($Ioo).
He will also need about $40 worth of good fertilizer* to the acre
(for intensive operations), besides horse-feed and provender for
himself and family if he has one, making about $700 necessary
and sufficient to start five acres in truck. If, however, he is not
a worker, he will need wages for a hired man, and this will add
materially to the expense and deduct from the profits propor-

*See last part of Chapter VI.


I Of course beginnings have been made more often with much
less money, and with splendid results. I will relate here my own
experience in this line. My start was made with a capital of
S $,ooo, and out of this a house costing $400 was built, and six
acres of truck planted, mostly in tomatoes, resulting after six
S months of close application in a gain of $3,400, after all bills were
paid, including expenses of a family of five. No help was engaged
until it came time to pick, pack and ship. We did the work.
Many cases have been known in which truckers have given
part of their time to working out for neighbors, earning thereby
enough to carry their expenses, virtually getting along without
capital, and winning out handsomely at the end of the season.
Again, some will start on a wholesale scale, investing large sums
in land, labor, tools and fertilizers, but by hiring indifferent help
and trusting the project to some one else, make an utter failure..
In a word, this business requires constant individual attention,
and he who trusts to disinterested people generally fails, as he
deserves to.
I would always recommend to all beginners that they keep a
reserve of funds at hand for any emergency, such as may be
caused by excessive drouths, wet spells, frosts or other unlooked-
for obstacles. While advice of the neighborly kind is sometimes
good, it is best to use one's own judgment and common sense in
all matters of life before accepting some one else's say so. This
is particularly so in matters pertaining to trucking and farming
operations in Florida.

.1 A\





ROBABLY the most important factor to the
truck gardener is the selection of the soil. True,
vegetables are grown in nearly all kinds of soil.
but with greatly varying results. Unless the
soil be not only rich, but of good depth, and
underlaid with a more or less porous subsoil,
to admit both water and air, results will not
be satisfactory. We have in extreme Southern
Florida a number of different kinds of soil, from the deep, rich
alluvial soil, better known as muck beds, to the poorest white
drifting sands, almost too poor to support any kind of vegetation.
It is a fact that less than one per cent of the farming in this
entire State is done on any but soil of a very inferior nature.
However, close investigation has convinced me that most of the
best farm land lies dormant today for want of proper drainage.
On first sight it seems as though this could be easily remedied,
for although the country is comparatively level, the good land is
surrounded by somewhat higher ridges, making drainage more
difficult; and, in addition, the swamps are usually very large, and
correspondingly large ditches must be excavated. This necessi-
tates the expenditure of more money than can readily be raised by
the individual, and must be undertaken by the larger corporations
or by the State.
Pine land, when underlaid by a clay subsoil, gives very fair
results; especially is this so if under irrigation by the method
better known as the overhead system (see chapter on "Irriga-
tion"). South of the Miami River there are among the rocky
pine lands lying adjacent to the Atlantic ocean numerous pockets,
often many acres in extent, where excellent crops of peppers,
tomatoes and eggplants, as well as beans, are grown to perfection.


However, it requires almost double the amount of fertilizer to
properly grow a crop on this soil as on the dark land of the
Glades, and the profits are cut correspondingly.
The better classes of pine-land soil are underlaid, besides with
clay, with a porous coraline limestone, which, when not too far
above the water level, will provide ample moisture through the
capillary attraction of the sun, drawing the water up from beneath
the reach of the roots of the plants, not unlike a lamp wick. Some
useful fertilizer ingredients also are pumped within reach of the
plant roots by this natural method. Still further south, in what
is locally known as the Homestead country, are very shallow beds
of land composed of an admixture of sand and clay, containing
nearly two per cent of iron and aluminum, in addition to almost
one per cent of phosphate. This soil, however shallow, produces
excellent vegetables, and does not require as much fertilizer as
ordinary pine land.



ITHOUT doubt, the richest soil in the State is
in the section known as the EVERGLADES. This
great swamp covers an area of over four
thousand square miles, embracing considerably
more than half of the territory lying south of
W Lake Okeechobee. This region does not pre-
sent an impenetrable thicket, as is so often sup-
posed, but it is in appearance more like an Illi-
nois prairie, dotted here and there with a clump of trees, quite
similar to our Northern windbreaks, the only difference being that
they have been covered during the rainy season with more or less
water. This vast area is also covered with large patches of coarse
grass, which, on account of the leaves or blades having rough or
serrated saw-like edges, is called saw-grass.
This grass in places grows so rank as to form a dense mass,
often ten feet high. Through this tall grass here and there are
winding, tortuous channels which, after enticing the canoeist
through a maze, terminate more often in a still denser barrier of
saw-grass. During the dry season these saw-grass beds are often
fired by the Indians in quest of game, and burn to the ground.
accompanied by loud popping noises not unlike the cracking of
rifles in sham battles.
Should the rainy season begin after one of these saw-grass
fires, the life is smothered out of the roots by the water standing
over them, and as these patches seem to have accumulated a
great amount of humus, being frequently several inches higher
than the surrounding land, they form an enticing seed-bed for
trees, and low hammocks are frequently formed in this way.
There seems to be no part of this immense elevated plateau that is


not reclaimable, or that will not respond to man's useful influence
and energy, and thus be made extremely valuable.
Since the land is free from stumps and trees, the item of clear-
ing needs little consideration-simply burning the grass cleans the
land for the plow. The soil, although the very richest, is easily
worked and irrigated and has, in addition, such climate and loca-
tion as to make it extraordinarily valuable. The ease with which
this kind of soil can be cultivated, on account of its light and
porous nature, is another very attractive feature, especially when
compared to the stiff, heavy soils of other States. Another favor-
able consideration is that the busy season comes here during the
coolest and most pleasant time of the year, and though the
labor be ever so hard, one can work in shirt sleeves ana without
Analysis of this soil shows, besides traces of potash and phos-
phate, as high as three per cent of ammonia, it being in this
respect a very rich fertilizer. When this tract is sufficiently
drained and the possibility of overflow from Lake Okeechobee is
removed, it will without a doubt become the largest, most pro-
ductive and most profitable garden spot in the United States.
The surface soil, and the subsoil particularly, varies consid-
erably, some parts having a subsoil of marl, some sand, and in
other places the muck is many feet deep. Where there is an
admixture of sand and muck, it is not only easier to till, but is
naturally much better aerated and in consequence contains less
Were I asked to select an ideal soil I would prefer a deep
sandy muck well decomposed, situated where it can be easily
drained, preferably on or near the bank of one of the canals,
by means of which also the produce can be transported by barge
directly to the steamer lines plying to and from the northern mar-
kets, thus getting advantage of the cheapest mode of trans-
This section is attracting many settlers and when once under
intensive tillage will become, without a single doubt, the heaviest
producing area in the United States. It is simply wonderful to

_ d_ ~ 117li3


S think that such a large tract should have not only the richest
soil and finest climate, but be so located as to be subject to
subirrigation throughout, with Lake Okeechobee as a reservoir
and the entire Kissimmee River valley as a never failing supply
of not alone water but humus as well. When to this is added
the water transportation it is no wonder that thousands have
bought and will buy homes here. This country can easily pro-
duce forage enough to supply a million head of cattle the year

I have often wondered why the black muck of the Everglades
should contain two or three times as much nitrogen as similar
land in the North. The only way I can account for this condition
is that the severe disintegrating action of the frost in the North
frees a much greater proportion of the ammonia, thus making it
water soluble, by which agency much of it is washed from the soil
and wasted.
As we can till soil here in the South and keep it active
throughout the entire year, all the nitrogen necessary will be freed
to grow abundant crops, and for this reason, if for no other, the
producing ability of this Everglade muck soil will be wonderful.
There is no doubt whatever in my mind that this most expensive
element (nitrogen) can be entirely dispensed with in our fer-
tilizers for Everglade land as soon as the land is sufficiently re-
claimed and aerated to remove enough of the everpresent acidity
to allow the germs of nitrification free action. That this is true is
proven by the fact that recently drained land here already produces
fully twice the wild growth it formerly did.




OWHERE will the old adage "A stitch in til
saves nine" apply so strongly as here, and t
experienced grower invariably gives his soil
most thorough preparation by plowing, diski
and pulverizing until a deep, mellow, comp,
seed bed is prepared. Often in this part of t
Country it is preferable to plow some time
S ---advance of the cropping season, so as to let t
land settle thoroughly, if possible catching some of the later trc
ical rains to help settle the soil before finally harrowing to a fi
seed or plant bed.
This method of preparation has many decided advantage,
inasmuch as it has a tendency to wash out any acidity contain
in the soil, and deposit nitrogen absorbed from the air by fallii
rain, thus finding here a tempting seed bed in which to st,
bacterial propagation. The careful, experienced grower has I
mind made up in advance as to the number of acres he wish
to plant of any given variety. He plows carefully, turning
S straight, uniform furrow, in'even sized lands. Should the si
contain acidity he gives the sun a chance to act before he harro)
it down, and applies lime or wood ashes to further remedy tl
defect. All furrows must be plowed in the proper direction
water can find easy access to the lateral ditches by way of t:
dead furrows, for more thorough drainage.
I If you are a novice you had better have some one experience,
lay off your lands, or lay out your rows, for if crooked th,
.Vw'ill not only be harder to work, but will be an everlasting eyesoi
In case the land is seeded naturally with foul weed seeds, it is
.great saving to harrow thoroughly and let them come up sever
times, and by repeated harrowings destroy the majority of their



This procedure cuts down much labor when the crop is planted.
Some .of the best planters put in a summer cover crop of
velvet beans, beggar-weed or cowpeas. This is not only a cheap
way to store nitrogen, but the soil will be vastly superior in a
mechanical way if shaded from our tropical sun during the sum-
mer months. This method is further commended because these
leguminous plants produce a valuable crop for hay or forage when
the land would otherwise be dormant or grow to f:-ul weeds. The
clearing off of land thus planted is very easy and, when raked
over with a horse rake, will often be found to be in tine compact
condition for disking or harrowing without further labor of



UCH controversy has been brought up at dif-
ferent times concerning the danger of the
trucking business being overdone in this terri-
tory. To familiarize ourselves with this, let us
consider the conditions that have prevailed in
former years.
I remember that nine or ten years ago a
light shipment of ten cars of tomatoes going
out in a single day had a depressing effect on the Northern mar-
kets. The prices in New York at that time depreciated from
the mere anticipation of this quantity of tomatoes being thrown
upon the market at one time. However, a few years later as
high as 25 to 35 and even 50 car-loads of this same fruit were
placed upon the market daily and it seems did not have the effect
of reducing prices to as great an extent as those former light ship-
ments did. During the season 1909-o1, over Ioo car-loads of
tomatoes were shipped from Dade County per day for thirty
consecutive days, and wonderful to relate, although the market at
that time was not what we would consider high, it held its own
remarkably well.
Whether this is actually due to increased consumption or not,
I am not in position to state. I think probably the weather
being very pleasant throughout the North during the months of
our greatest shipments, had considerable to do with it. It stands
to reason that when the people of the North find Spring at hand,
particularly after they have been penned up in their houses by
inclement weather for months at a time, their appetites nat-
urally have an abnormal tendency towards vegetables. During
the time of cold weather in the North everybody has naturally


eaten largely of meats, therefore the first few sunny days are
apt to bring the good housewife into the open, and the tempt-
ing vegetables displayed at this time of the year by the green
grocers have a strong tendency to induce her to invest in the vari-
ous Southern products, so attractively displayed.
One thing we can always depend upon, no matter how large
the acreage originally planted, there are always many failures to
be chronicled before the season is well advanced. Excessive
rains, drouth, ravages of fungi and insects have a tendency not
only to annihilate the crop, but often cause a number of our
novices to discontinue the business entirely. I have often met
people, unfamiliar with the business, who comparatively early in
the season were so disheartened that they simply gave up the
struggle, for which they were sorry later on, as the prices usually ,
in consequence of inclement weather or the other conditions named
above, advanced to an almost prohibitive figure.
The old grower, on the other hand, being familiar with pro-
duction, and having in past years experienced unfavorable as well
as encouraging experiences, usually is persistent and keeps right
on persevering, and for this reason almost invariably comes out
at the end of the season with flying colors. I frequently have
known peppers, for instance, to be begging on the market, thereby
causing many of those easily discouraged to neglect their crops
to such an extent as to give them over to the weeds, and then
for the market to advance to such a figure that those who had
been untiring and faithful in their work, realized a most hand-
some profit in the very years in which the largest acreage had
originally been planted. This is equally true of other crops.
So familiar have we grown with the different obstacles to be
encountered and such sturdy control have we of the conditions
here found, that it is a common saying in the South that we
make crops here. Probably our familiarity and success with the
use of a well balanced fertilizer is what leads us to want to
monopolize all the credit of growing our crops, forgetting that
Nature is the most important adjunct.


eaten largely of meats, therefore the first few sunny days are
apt to bring the good housewife into the open, and the tempt-
ing vegetables displayed at this time of the year by the green
grocers have a strong tendency to induce her to invest in the vari-
ous Southern products, so attractively displayed.
One thing we can always depend upon, no matter how large
the acreage originally planted, there are always many failures to
be chronicled before the season is well advanced. Excessive
rains, drouth, ravages of fungi and insects have a tendency not
only to annihilate the crop, but often cause a number of our
novices to discontinue the business entirely. I have often met
people, unfamiliar with the business, who comparatively early in
the season were so disheartened that they simply gave up the
struggle, for which they were sorry later on, as the prices usually,
in consequence of inclement weather or the other conditions named
above, advanced to an almost prohibitive figure.
The old grower, on the other hand, being familiar with pro-
duction, and having in past years experienced unfavorable as well
as encouraging experiences, usually is persistent and keeps right
on persevering, and for this reason almost invariably comes out
at the end of the season with flying colors. I frequently have
known peppers, for instance, to be begging on the market, thereby
causing many of those easily discouraged to neglect their crops
to such an extent as to give them over to the weeds, and then
for the market to advance to such a figure that those who had
been untiring and faithful in their work, realized a most hand-
some profit in the very years in which the largest acreage had
originally been planted. This is equally true of other crops.
So familiar have we grown with the different obstacles to be
encountered and such sturdy control have we of the conditions
here found, that it is a common saying in the South that we
make crops here. Probably our familiarity and success with the
use of a well balanced fertilizer is what leads us to want to
monopolize all the credit of growing our crops, forgetting that
Nature is the most important adjunct.


1 , ,,c...









VERYTHING should be done to encourage
Cash F. O. B. sales of our products. Unscru-
pulous dealers usually have a great number of
drummers locally known as "tomato or veg-
etable buzzards" canvassing our country. They
frequently quote high prices on our products,
but are very careful not to tie themselves down
by contract to any given figure. "A bird in the
hand is worth two in the bush" applies here very readily. We
often find that our buyer will offer us a certain figure for one
of our products, which price has been inflated by the representa-
tive. We are tempted to take the risk and ship our products to
his firm, only to receive a very insignificant return for the same.
It should also be remembered that if we were all to adhere to
the cash or F. O. B. system of selling we would in a short time
have the matter so well in hand that no loss whatever would be
incurred and we could go home from market with the cash
jingling in our pockets, sleeping well at night and not being
obliged to think and wonder and fret about the uncertainty of
our returns. For this reason also, numerous packing houses have
been established throughout our growing section by the growers
themselves. Some packing houses are owned or controlled by
dishonest dealers, who not only ship our stuff indiscriminately, but
often have a direct understanding and come here for no other
purpose than to deceive.
The annual loss through dishonest commission men amounts
in the aggregate to an enormous figure throughout this section of
the country. Co-operation among the growers whereby these
frauds can be detected and exposed would work a great benefit



in favor of the agriculturists of this section; and each and every-
one of the new-comers should realize this, and should bear in
mind that one of his first duties should be to join a branch of the
Local Association now being established throughout this section
and thereby help to eradicate this dishonest element.


14 f, ."
s "

--~i"; S

.* ;




WET soggy soil will not produce, and all lands
on which farming or truck gardening is con-
templated must first be thoroughly drained of
all surplus water to a sufficient depth to allow
a free circulation of air, and ample room for the
natural development of the roots, allowing them
to penetrate the subsoil in quest of moisture
and other necessary ingredients. A well drained
soil not only offers a firm, deep foothold for all kinds of trees
and plants, but allows the rain to percolate and in turn admits the
air sufficiently to start the millions of minute yeast-like organisms,
called microbes or bacteria, to start decomposition or nitrification
of the soil. Neither these bacteria nor plant roots can exist for
any length of time in earth saturated with water, as this unfavor-
able condition produces an acidity which rapidly either renders
them dormant or destroys them entirely.
Soil containing the proper amount of moisture is in a con-
stant state of intensive activity, every square inch being filled
with millions of these useful germs, whose office it is to digest
or make available the ingredients necessary to produce plant
Air is just as necessary for the development of plants as it is
for animals. It must be present in sufficient quantities to oxidize
the various plant foods, making them soluble and ready for
absorption by the feeding rootlets. Drainage, therefore, is neces-
sary not alone to remove surplus water, but also to encourage the
development of these organisms, without which successful agri-
culture would be impossible. A rich deeply plowed soil that is
well drained will hold moisture much longer than if plowed


shallow, and will feed plants accordingly, which fact has been
often demonstrated during protracted drouths. Especially is this
true where clay or muck predominates. Thorough drainage will
work wonders, as has often been evidenced in the enormous
increase in productions where it has been accomplished.
In soil where clay, marl or muck predominates the lateral
ditches should be deep rather than wide. A large proportion of
the failures recorded can be directly attributed to either the
entire omission of any kind of drains, or drains of insufficient
capacity or depth to remove the acid stagnant waters or to allow
the air free access to decompose the ingredient vegetable matter.
Just how long these useful bacteria can exist under water has
not been ascertained, but they are known to live in running water
for a much longer time than in stagnant water, thus proving that
land containing active drains can be overflowed with much less
damage to the soil than when undrained. Drainage is therefore
of the utmost importance to the practical and scientific agricul-
turist, and where it does not exist naturally it must be supplied
Soil of a compact nature can be drained with tile-laid under
ground when the fall is sufficient-with splendid results, but when
the land is very level, and in a country where great quantities of
rain fall in a very short time, open ditches of sufficient depth and
capacity are preferable.. The larger of these ditches, say eight
feet or over in width, offer splendid transportation facilities for
the removal of crops of a bulky nature, or to bring in fertilizing
material, etc.
The smaller sub-lateral ditches should be dug about 18 inches
deep and close enough together to remove the surface water in a
few hours after a hard rainfall. These sub-lateral ditches should
be placed about 20 to 30 feet apart. These same ditches can be
used for irrigation by forcing the water through them by way of
head ditches. Of course, this applies only to a level country, and
land that can be drained in this way, if otherwise suitable, can
be used for planting trees, especially if the land is plowed two or
three times, throwing the earth in the same direction, forming a


ridge or apex, say a foot or more above the general level of the
field. This apex will drain the land towards the ditches and forms
an admirable place to plant trees upon, securing them at all times
from standing water.
All ditches should be dug with sloping sides to prevent their,
caving. The width and depth should be kept uniform, for one
must bear in mind that the capacity or delivery of a ditch is
governed by the narrowest or shallowest place in it.
In case the land is extra level, great care must be taken to
see that these laterals have sufficient fall, and for this purpose an
instrument had better be used, a carpenter's level equipped with
level sights being satisfactory for small fields. The lands of the
Everglades are admirably suited for this manner of drainage.
The open ditches can here be dug on almost a level, and for this
reason these same ditches can be used for irrigation, by simply
keeping the water-table where the crop will be benefited the most.
This can be further facilitated by putting in miniature gates or
locks, so water can be let in or out as the occasion may demand.
It will be necessary to install a pump for raising the water to the
level of the ditches in a dry time for irrigation, but this pump can
in turn be used to carry out water in wet spells, thus serving a
double purpose.
The expense of a pump for this purpose need not be heavy.
Since the lift is very slight a cheap outfit will raise a great amount
of water. This method, in my opinion, will find great favor in
this region.
I feel that I would not be doing this subject complete justice
without referring to the danger of one's being tempted to trust
to luck and attempt to farm on level land without first making
ample provision by digging these lateral ditches. Long con-
tinuous drouths will disarm one in this respect and will convince
the individual to take precedent as a guide. Failures are to be
traced to this every season, as one is apt to think that because it
did not rain one season it will be dry the next also, and so on.
I say, DON'T TAKE ANY CHANCES. We seldom have two


seasons alike following each other anywhere; and here in Florida
there have not been two alike in my experience.
True, it may look a little foolish on your own part to have
expended a snug sum for ditches only to have a protracted drouth
follow; however, even here if you are alive to the situation you
will, if you have not already done so, at once install an irrigating
plant and come out with flying colors. If it does not rain when
your crop is nearly made, you will find your efforts doubly repaid,
for the best prices are usually obtained in seasons wherein the
most unusual freaks of weather appear. In fact, I have, governed
by many experiences of the past, learned to quit guessing at the
weather, but just to try and guard against all kind of excesses,
and when caught unawares try and meet the situation, however
unfavorable, as best I can, resolving in the future to try and
guard against a repetition of the same mistake, with the result
that I have met with flattering success.


Ni~ 4






O matter how rich our country may be in an
,ri..ilt .iral way, or how deep and black the
soil, it would soon cease to produce if moisture
were withheld, as all plant growth absorbs
food in liquid form. In the first place the very
microbes, whose function it is to prepare the
meals underground,. cease action and become
dormant when the soil becomes dry, but are
awakened to active life at once upon coming into contact with
moisture. -Unfortunately there is no known land on this wide
earth where it rains just enough either to suit plant development
or to please everybody, hence if we wish to be uniformly success-
ful we must supply as well as remove water artificially. In loca-
tions where the moisture supply is under absolute control, the most
intensive and successful farm operations are carried on and the
greatest amount of products grown per acre.
Successful planters, being ambitious, are continually striving to
do better, hence better methods are adopted as quickly as they are
a proven success, and for this reason many are preparing to
irrigate in all parts of South Florida, especially since our crops
here are grown principally in or during the dry season of the
There is considerable inquiry in regard to the irrigation sub-
ject, and various kinds of plants are being installed. The styles
of plants are governed by the kind of soil and subsoil, whether
sand, muck, clay, or marl, the latter three possessing the faculty of
retaining moisture to a much greater degree than the first named.
The water supply also governs the kind of plant installed to a
large degree. On land with sand or rock subsoil, irrigation is


accomplished by what is locally known as the overhead system.
It is a very successful method, as it not only is economical of
water, but it would be impossible to hold water in sandy subsoil on
account of its leachy character. This style is the most costly to
install. Besides the expense of mains, consisting of 2 to 4 inch
pipe, laterals must be laid 25 to 40 feet apart, with long or short
stand pipes (usually about 6 feet high) of 34-inch iron pipe
placed a corresponding distance apart.
These stand pipes are crowned with various kinds of spray
nozzles, aiming chiefly to get such a nozzle as will distribute over
as large an area as possible. This system has its advantages as
well as its disadvantages. Among the former may be counted
the prevention of damaging frost; it also washes off red spider
and makes it unpleasant for leaf-eating insects; on the other hand,
it has a tendency to produce a class of fungi such as flourish best
where the foliage is damp.
This overhead system requires a pressure of about 25 pounds
per square inch to properly force the water and to generate such a
spray as will best imitate a fine rain. Spraying is best applied
evenings or during the night, but beneficial applications can be
made during cloudy weather. In all attempts at irrigation, you
will make no mistake by using a surplus of water and by keeping
the soil-especially if of a sandy nature-constantly in a moist
condition; and unless this is done religiously, absolute failure is
liable to result.
Probably the method that is most successful is the one of
placing under-ground tiles and forcing water through them.
This is the system so largely used at Sanford, Florida. However,
this system is only feasible where there is a substratum of soil
which is more or less impervious to water, such as clay, marl or
hard-pan subsoil.
When the Everglade drainage is completed it is proposed to
install locks in the canals and thereby control the water level in
the soil. This will at all times provide ample moisture and will
eventually assure very cheap irrigation for this entire area. But
until this work is completed, which will take some time to accom-


plish, smaller areas in this section can be controlled easily by put-
ting in one of the shallow lift pumps of great capacity such as
are used to pump out, or flood, rice fields.
With all crops, especially vegetables, the increase in produc-
tion is very marked when water is applied scientifically, the
increase being often doubled; in fact, in seasons of protracted
drouths little or nothing can be grown unless under water control.
Not only is this increase in production to be noted, but the quality
is proportionately improved and such products always bring an
increased price in .the market and are in much greater demand.
A great number of our tropical plants require considerable mois-
ture and will not produce properly unless an adequate water supply
is at hand.
Care must be taken to provide water that contains no matter
injurious to plants. This is occasionally found in artesian water,
some of which contains chemicals that do injury to the foliage,
but these cases are rare. On the other hand, the small per cent
of sulphur often found in the water here is no doubt of some
benefit, especially if used in sub-irrigation, as it has a tendency
to destroy injurious fungi in the soil. Surface water, such as is
found in streams or will be found in the canals of the Everglades,
is admirably adapted for irrigation purposes.
As in all other matters, success in irrigation depends on close
attention to details, for as before mentioned, plants requiring their
food in liquid form are at once stunted, rendered dormant, or
destroyed entirely, if their water supply is inadequate; in other
words, they not only die of thirst, but starve for want of food.
In addition, all bacterial action ceases, thus causing further loss
and injury to the soil. Hence, the careful trucker will examine
his soil daily and keep in close touch as to the condition of both
the surface and the subsoil. In short, he is not only intimate
with this as well as all branches of nature, but loves the very scent
of moist newly plowed earth.
An additional reason why one of the forms of sub-irrigation is
popular is that the water coming from below does not have the
tendency to wash out the fertilizer, but in fact has a tendency to


bring these useful ingredients to the roots from below, in this
way facilitating growth; whereas if the water falls in imitation of
rain it has a tendency to leach out the fertilizer, and in case the
precipitation should be heavy, will often wash out or leach the
plant foods far below the reach of the roots, thus not only
depriving the plants of their present ration, but robbing the soil
of the greater part of its available nitrogen and other ingredi-
ents. It is a sight never to be forgotten to see a carefully sub-
irrigated garden, the rich dark green of the foliage showing
plainly as far as the field can be seen, and such an area appears
a veritable oasis when it happens to be surrounded by land that
is not irrigated.
The fertilizer* for an acre of vegetables (operated on the
intensive plan as outlined in this book) costs not less than $40;
the irrigation for this same acre need not cost over $5, but still
is likely to be of more importance than the first item. Therefore,
we need not wonder if all fields where these conditions can be
easily and cheaply supplied will be equipped with some sort of
irrigating systems in the near future; in fact, it is a cheap mode
of crop insurance.

See last part of Chapter VI, relative to lower cost of fertilizer on well
aerated Everglade land.


HE first material used by mankind to promote
plant growth, no doubt, was ordinary stable
manure. Although we have found in commer-
cial fertilizers valuable substitutes, we have
today nothing better with which to promote
plant growth than a well-rotted, properly pre-
pared compost. I say properly prepared com-
post, as I consider the preparation and care
given a compost heap of such importance, that I am apt
to have my judgment of a grower biased as to his ability, should
he fail to properly care for and prepare his compost heap. The
waste of stable manure is so common, taking place in such a
silent, hidden manner, that it is liable to escape notice entirely.
One can almost judge of the size of a trucker's bank account by
the size and condition of his manure heap, and a well kept com-
post heap may be taken as the surest indication of thrift and
success in one's farm operations.
It is of vital importance to the farmer to know the value of
all materials in his reach which can be converted into compost.
Experiments carried on by our scientific people show that the
excrement of a working horse, if carefully saved, will amount in
weight to about six tons a year, of which, it must be remembered,
the liquids are the most valuable part; ample bedding should,
therefore, be supplied at all times to absorb the liquid.
To carefully absorb and convert into plant food the greatest
amount of the ingredients available, depends altogether on how
well and how carefully the manure has been composted; to do
this I have found it advisable to carefully fork over the entire
mass every three or four days, after removal from the stable.
If this forking-over process' is repeated four or five times-being


careful to mix thoroughly, break up all lumps and moisten each
layer, and, better yet, add to each layer a liberal sprinkling of
either ground castor pomace or cottonseed meal-you will have
an ideal compost heap. It should not be used until the greatest
heat has passed away, and a cover of earth or muck in a dry pul-
verized state should be added at the final or last forking-over.
Provision must be made to prevent leaching in wet weather or
great loss will result.
Well decomposed stable manure seems to have a value not
accounted for by analysis, in that it introduces a necessary ferment
congenial to plant growth. Among all manures, that from horses,
when composted, seems to be the most valuable for starting
plants on; especially is this so if the land is new, as, for instance,
in the Everglade region, or of a swampy nature. The faeces of
the horse's manure are covered with a yellow or white film which
seems to contain and introduce germs that start nitrification in
the soil and decomposition in the manure pile or compost heap.
It is on this account that when only a small handful of compost
is used under a newly set plant the seed spores of nitrification are
simultaneously introduced and for this reason are of much more
benefit than the mere fertilizing qualities contained. However, it
must be remembered that in this handful of compost are also
present, in a very finely prepared form, the ingredients of the
elements necessary for plant life, which are absorbed by the
tender rootlets at once, similar to a baby food.
Thus the young plant newly set is not only supplied with a
nourishing food to start with, but also is supplied with a working
force of useful bacteria to co-operate and work for the plant
through its entire life by freeing ammonia and other ingredients
for its consumption. The very moisture in a well prepared com-
post is a factor upon which little stress is laid ordinarily by the
chemist, but like other secrets, seems to have slipped past his
magic wand. The humus supplied through stable manure forms
a body, in which also ingredients acceptable and congenial to all
plant growth are stored. Humus also holds in store carbonic


mend in all cases to at least apply this side application.* It keeps
the vines much healthier ard stronger and produces finer,
smoother and a much greater quantity of potatoes per acre.
There is no doubt in my mind whatever but what in the near
future great quantities of this vegetable will be grown for ship-
ping to the Northern markets in midwinter from this territory.
At the present day, other vegetables are so largely in demand
and their production is followed by such remunerative results,
that we have not gotten down to growing these crops which would
probably not bring us so much per acre. However, as the sweet
potato crop in this vicinity can easily be made to produce 400 or
500 bushels per acre, and as they are usually sold locally for 75
cents per bushel (in fact, they often bring $1.50 per bushel), they
pay very well indeed.
They are seldom attacked by insects. I have known of one
case, however, in which a field was almost annihilated by an in-
vasion of the army worm. An application of arsenate of lead,
however, in this case destroyed these insects entirely. The vines
are not usually pulled up or loosened as is done in the Northern
country; they are simply allowed to grow until they have matured
their potatoes to such a size as the market may demand. Great
care should be taken in this country not to let the potatoes grow
too large, otherwise they are apt to become old and tough and are
frequently bored and bitten into by different kinds of worms.
The cut worm and wire worm are very disastrous in this respect.
They can and, without a doubt, will be grown in later years
as a cattle food and possibly to manufacture alcohol, for if they
be left to grow for a few months after they have matured to
marketable size, enormous quantities can be produced per acre.
Instances are known where they have been grown to weigh as
much as fifty pounds or more to the single potato. These, of
course, are unfit for food, being more or less woody and tough
and lacking flavor, but as a poultry food they are very fine indeed.
In selecting vines to plant it is a wise precaution to take them
from a thrifty bearing field, for if taken from an old worn out
patch they have often run out to such an extent as to be almost

* See last part of Chapter VI.




I 1



NE of the most fascinating as well as remuner-
ative occupations one can possibly engage in
on our richly drained soils of the Everglades
is the culture of strawberries. Here they can
be grown with great ease at such a time of
the year that they will enter the markets with-
out a single competitor in the fresh fruit line.
When one stops to think how many millions
of mouths are fed in the United States and that we have here in
the South a monopoly of this fruit offered us at a time of the
year when absolutely no other kinds of fresh fruits are to be had,
the prospect is indeed attractive. There is no doubt but what
the great bulk of this luscious fruit can be marketed throughout
the North and at very remunerative prices. At present the supply
has fallen far short of the demand. It seems that of all fruits
grown the strawberry is most universally in demand.
If the market at any time becomes glutted, a drop of a few
cents per quart in the price will put the fruit in the hands of
thousands who could not afford to invest at the former high price.
In selecting a piece of land for strawberries, extra care should
be taken. It should not only be well drained but of such a nature
as to dry out readily after a heavy rain. It should be extra well
enriched* in advance of planting, for after the plants are set out
there is danger of burning them by heavy side dressings of com-
mercial fertilizer.
As to varieties, most any of the popular kinds from the North
do well here, the Brandywine being one of the best. The Old
Lady Thompson was in great favor, but has been superseded of
late years by the best of the new introductions.

See last part of Chapter VI.


I have known of no large acreages being planted here, but it
has been demonstrated that they can be grown to the extent of
from 5,000 to Io,ooo quarts to the acre. As they will sell readily
for $0.'35 per quart wholesale during January and early February,
it does not take much figuring to see that they are interesting
in a financial way.
Plants can be set out during most any month in the entire year.
A good way to start in the business is to buy plants in the early
Spring from the North, set them out in well fertilized soil, and
take good care of them until they begin to run, which they will
do a month or six weeks after being set out, provided the plants
are good and strong to start with. If great care is taken to prop-
erly place layers on moist soil, a great number of plants can be
grown. In fact, plants enough to plant several acres have been
grown from a single thousand. Before the rainy season closes,
say in September, these young runner plants can be transplanted
to the permanent field. They should be set about eight inches
apart in the row and the rows planted eighteen inches apart. An-
other way is to set the plants about ten inches apart and place
two rows together, a foot apart, leaving alternate spaces eighteen
inches. This is a somewhat more intensive plan, but admits of
mulching two rows at one time and helps to protect them from
drifting rains which are apt to throw sand upon the fruit. As
before stated, the ground should be thoroughly enriched some
weeks before planting. The foliage and roots are very susceptible
to strong fertilizer, especially those containing considerable potash.
As quickly as they have taken root they should be worked very
slightly on the surface. All weeds should be cut down and light
applications of fertilizer* added semi-weekly. As soon as they
begin to bloom, which will be about December Ist, a mulching of
rotten grass or hay should be applied around and under the
plants. Should the land be inclined to be dry, a thorough system
of irrigation must be supplied as they are very susceptible to
drouths; in fact, a crop will almost be annihilated should there
be a lack of proper moisture.

* See last part of Chapter VI.


The fruit is picked for shipment as soon as it shows color. It
should be very carefully assorted, any small, inferior or bruised
fruit, or such as has been damaged by insects, not being allowed
to go into the baskets. The baskets should be nicely top dressed,
laying the fruit uniformly and placing the stem ends all in one
For the home market they may be allowed to ripen up over the
entire surface. They are usually marketed in the ordinary quart
baskets and for shipment are placed in refrigerator boxes or cars.
In case grasshoppers or crickets, cut worms or any other in-
sects should bother the plants, light sprinklings of paris green
and bran, as prescribed for tomatoes, should be applied.



HERE is no doubt whatever in my mind but
what in the near future great quantities of
bananas will be grown in this extreme southern
end of Florida. The rich black muck lands of
the Everglades afford a particularly inviting
field for this industry, and it is a practical cer-
tainty that they will be grown here successfully
in the next few years and with much profit.
I have found that the dwarf varieties are best adapted for this
climate. The reason for this is that they are not only more pro-
ductive but have much stouter stems and resist storms much
better. I have found all of the dwarf varieties equally good,
there being very little difference in their quality. They should
be grown on rich, alluvial soil, well drained at all times, and
should be planted at a distance of ten feet apart each way. I
do not think we have a plant in this region that responds as
readily to cultivation as the banana. It seems that after each
and every thorough cultivation, a new growth is made. Great
care must be taken at all times to properly thin the hills, keeping
them down to three or four stalks, endeavoring to have one
bunch of fruit in development only and cutting out all suckers
except two or three. Should you at any time neglect this, you
will find your banana field becoming an impassable thicket, in con-
sequence of which inferior bunches are produced, and eventually
the entire field will go back and become unproductive and an
undesirable eyesore.
Planting at this distance apart, about 400 hills can be pro-
duced per acre, allowing a little space for roads through the
field which are necessary for the removal of the bulky crop. They
should not be picked in this country until the first few ripe fruits


show. These are greatly superior to the half-grown green picked
article usually imported from other tropical countries. If well
grown, they will readily sell for two or three cents per pound
in the wholesale markets. If well taken care of, as.far as cul-
tivation is concerned, with three or four applications each year
of fertilizer,* say 800 pounds per application, they should produce
not less than 1,200 bunches per acre, weighing from forty to
sixty pounds or more per bunch.
The quantity of bananas consumed throughout the United
States is something enormous, being the only fruit that is fresh
on the market the year around. I have found upon inquiry that
an average of twenty-seven carloads of bananas are consumed
per day in the city of Chicago and suburbs alone.
The quality of our southern Florida banana should in a short
time become known throughout the country, for if they are picked
after they have begun to show color, the flavor will be greatly
superior to the foreign article. Aside from the price obtained
from the fruit, a great many slips or suckers can often be sold
for remunerative prices, forming an additional revenue.
As they are of very rank growth, they should be kept well
irrigated; in fact, the best bananas are grown upon such soils
as are located only slightly above the general water level, the
roots having at all times easy access to the moisture.
There are other great possibilities in connection with banana
culture, as the stems of the plant have a very tough fiber and
my impression is that a very good quality of hemp could be
derived therefrom.
A variety locally known as the horse banana is used through-
out the South and is much relished. It is fried and served as
banana fritters and is certainly much superior to fried potatoes.

* See last part of Chapter VI.




HE ripe fruit of this tree eaten for dessert with
cream and sugar is not only a delicious dish
but takes upon itself the responsibility of the
digestion of the preceding meal. It is said
that the papaya (paw paw) fruit can be eaten
every day for two years without any ill effects.
One or two experiments in cooking the ripe
or unripe fruit with tough meat will soon con-
vince anyone that with the aid of the paw paw the toughest meat
may be made as soft and tender'as you please.
The paw paw is really a large herb and hence should be grown
from seed in the same way as the tomato or melon. Professor
P. J. Webster of the United States Sub-tropical Laboratory at
Miami states that less than one per cent of a batch of Florida
seedlings bear superior fruit and this accounts for the scarcity
of the paw paw on the market. There are great numbers of
this fruit growing wild throughout the South Florida jungles
and hammocks. They are cross-fertilized by the numerous in-
sects and moths. Such cross-fertilization can be avoided by ob-
taining good varieties of paw paws from tropical localities where
they come true from seed, and pollinating one or two flowers
by hand, carefully tying them up in paper bags to keep insects
from further pollinating them. By this method there is no doubt
but what improved strains can be grown. The paw paw, like
the willow and the date palm, has two kinds of trees, the barren
which bears the staminate flowers, and the fruiting tree which
has the pistillate flowers. Rather frequently the former may bear
bisexual flowers at the ends of its long flower stalks, which flowers
turn into rather small fruits. More rarely the pistillate tree may
have some perfect flowers, provided with stamens.


All parts of the paw paw tree, except the perfectly ripe fruits,
contain a milk white latex, which exudes from the slightest
wound, 1i:,.i!ig rapidly at first and then slackening, probably
because it coagulates in the latex tubes. The latex soon clots
and dries on the plant and so tends to seal up any wound. It
has a corrosive action upon the skin, and if the raw latex from
green fruits, etc., is swallowed, it may tend to cause intestinal
inflammation. The raw latex has an extremely potent digestive
action upon proteids. Thus if a slice of tough meat, as a beef
steak, which in the tropics may be cooked and eaten an hour
or two after being killed, is well rubbed with the juice of the
paw paw leaves or the green fruits, or even the pulp of the ripe
fruit, and cooked, it becomes tender and is readily masticated.
The ripe fruit, which does not contain the visible milky latex, acts
in the same way on proteids.
When perfectly ripe the fruit of the paw paw is quite soft,
but has lost all acridity and the milky juice has disappeared. There
is no doubt whatever that this dessert fruit eaten after a good
dinner greatly aids the digestive process. It also, like the fig,
acts as a gentle laxative.
The paw paw requires a well drained soil and is readily killed
by stagnant water about the roots. Thus it grows commonly
in South F!...rida wild, in high hammocks and shell mounds. If
grown on rather poor sandy soil, it should be enriched with
plenty of humus. If only a few plants are grown, as for home
consumption, the following method has been tried in a light vol-
canic soil in the West Indies, securing excellent results: Dig
holes about ten feet apart, in well drained soil, two or three feet
deep and three or four feet square, fill them with a compost of
soil, farmyard manure, rotting weeds, or humus of any kind,
adding unleached wood ashes. Plant several paw paws in each
of these holes and cover with any good mulch. Of course the
young plants will need water. As soon as the first blossoms ap-
pear, cut out the staminate ones so as to leave only fruiting trees.
For this purpose several plants should always be planted in a hill.
A few paw paws may be planted near by on poor ground and


one or two staminate trees out of these left to pollinate the others.
In very dry weather the plants should be irrigated, for while
they will grow in well drained soil they, at all times, should be
well supplied with water. If they are well grown without a check,
producing large leaved healthy plants, they will in this warm
climate fruit almost continuously. I have known cases of paw
paws reaching an age of several years; the best fruits, however,
are produced on the young trees, say one year old. Heavy crops
can be grown on well drained Everglade soil and no doubt this
fruit on account of its medicinal qualities will steadily grow in
demand. Should insects bother the immature fruits they can
be annihilated by applications of tobacco dust.





ATIVES of cold countries and those living for
S many years in the continuous heat of summer
between the tropics, are apt to suffer sometimes
from digestive derangements. Nature has
planted the remedy in the shape of various
fruits, such as the pineapple as well as the
melon paw paw. For instance, an authority
notes: "You can sup on many kinds of in-
digestible food and sleep the sleep of the just and put all night-
mares to flight if you who partake will assimilate a little pine-
apple or eat a melon paw paw, as he prefers, before retiring. Of
course, it will not neutralize acute indigestion but will prevent
it, and as stated, is a .Godsend to him who dissipates."
Pineapples are generally grown upon a soil which one who
is accustomed to grow plants of any variety would be apt to
call sterile or worthless. The simple fact that they will grow
upon this kind of soil, in spite of its sterility, does not prove by
any means that they prefer that class of soil. I have found in
my past experience that the pineapple will produce much better
upon a soil which, while light and porous, is at the same time
rich in such fertilizers as are essential for all crops. Choose
such a piece of land as.is naturally well drained. It is not neces-
sary for it to be sand or even half sand, but better still a soil
that contains a considerable amount of decayed vegetable mold
or humus.
Plant in patches (according to variety) from six to ten rows
wide. The larger growing varieties, such as the Smooth Cayenne
and Porto Rico, thrive much better if planted in wide rows, the
beds being put some distance farther apart. Rows eighteen inches
apart are considered about right for Red Spanish, twenty to


twenty-four inches, and even farther for Smooth Cayenne and
Porto Rico. They should be planted preferably in the month of
August; and by all means, if suckers are procurable, they should
be given preference. After first cleaning off the surface leaves
from the stem end, they may be laid aside for a few days in a
shady place to start their roots, which they will do in the course
of a week or ten days in this humid climate, and at this season
of the year.
In the meantime the beds should be carefully prepared by
digging out all stones, sticks and trash of any kind. Rake to a
smooth even surface, elevating the center of each bed slightly
to facilitate the removal of surface water. Marks should then
be struck out the desired distance apart; mark the other way in
squares. A depression is then made with a pole or stick of
suitable size corresponding in diameter with the butts of the
pineapple slips and the plants firmly pressed into the soil. Care
must be taken not to press them in too deep but just so they will
stand upright firmly without toppling over. If the soil is sandy,
there will be danger of their being washed in the crowns by
heavy rains,and it is necessary, therefore, to drop a small amount
of cotton seed meal or ground castor pomace in the hearts. Thus
if sand should accumulate in the hearts, the castor pomace or
cotton seed meal unites with it and makes a sticky mass, which
will adhere to the leaves and will be removed by the growth
of the plant as they grow from the center; the plant will thus
clean itself.
Another excellent method with which I have had splendid
results is mulching the field thoroughly with any kind of grass,
such as glade hay or weeds, from nearby fields. This is first
spread over the entire surface of the field to a uniform depth of
two or three inches and the plants are planted in this mass at
regular distances apart as before stated. By following this method
no trouble whatever will be had later with grass or weeds as this
mulching will effectually smother out all such growth and will
supply the pineapple plants for a number of years with decayed


humus and fertility, which is very essential to their growth and
Our best growers usually fertilize four or six times a year,
taking extra precaution to use no phosphate containing acid. Bone
meal in its different forms is used for this purpose exclusively.
At the same time no muriate of potash should be used as the salt
in it is very injurious to the pineapple. A good mixture is one
containing raw ground bone, cotton seed meal or castor pomace,
relying upon the bone meal for phosphoric acid and the sulphate
of potash for potash content. If not grown by the mulch method,
it will be necessary to use the scuffle hoe frequently as all weeds
and grass should be destroyed before they get large enough to
injure the plants or crowd them in any way. In fact, here, as
in all other cases, destroying the weeds before they get a chance
to show any considerable growth is preferable to attempting their
destruction after they have become established.
If good stout suckers are used and carefully planted as out-
lined above, fully 75 per cent and sometimes as high as 95 per
cent will produce fruit inside of the next twelve months. I have
carried on in an experimental way small plantations of pineapples
on Everglade land, having planted them by the mulch method,
and out of io8 suckers planted had 96 apples averaging over four
pounds each within thirteen months of planting. This variety
was the Smooth Cayenne, which is considered a winter bearer and
for this reason is often very profitable. However, fruit of this
particular kind should be picked in rather a green state, as it is
so heavy and juicy that it is liable to bruise and leak if picked
when showing the least bit of color.
The crop should not be picked until thoroughly filled; the
fruit is known to be ready to pick when the eyes are plump
and when the skin begins to color. Some of our growers here
are shortsighted and frequently pick the pineapples before they
are thoroughly filled, and for this reason great injury is done
annually. The importance of marketing nothing but nice plump
juicy fruit cannot be overestimated; partially ripe pineapples are
liable to wither and dry out, and this has a detrimental effect


upon the market. Should a novice chance to buy one of these
withered pineapples he can hardly be induced to buy the second
time. If, on the other hand, he should happen to procure a fine
juicy fruit, he will ever after be a customer for this product.
The variety mostly grown for market is the Red Spanish as
it will stand shipment best. But a few of the finer varieties,
such as the Abacca, Porto Rico or Smooth Cayenne, should always
be grown for home use, for while they are too soft for shipment
they are of much superior flavor.



AMAICA SORREL, better described as the
Southern Cranberry, is very easily grown in
the South. It is best planted in February or
March. The seed should be placed in well pre-
pared ground, preferably in hills about two feet
apart. The rows should be placed about three
to four feet apart.
Shallow culture should be given at all times
with an abundance of fertilizer.* As this plant is very subject
to root knot, precaution should be taken not to place it in such
localities as are apt to be infested.
It is also subject to mildew, but this can be prevented by
dusting with sulphur.
Heavy crops of this succulent novelty can be grown and
profitably marketed throughout the South during the entire Fall
and Winter months.
The sprouts and calixes should be gathered when tender and
before they have reached a mature age. They are usually mar-
keted in six-basket carriers. The profits vary largely with the
market, but $1.50 is the standard price per crate.

See last part of Chapter VI.





HE industry of growing forage plants, either for
feed or soiling purposes, is still in its infancy
in this part of the South. However, demon-
strations have been carried on to such an extent
that we already have a large number of plants
suitable for both feeding animals and enriching
the soil.
The plant that is probably the most easily'
grown and which I would highly recommend to the amateur
grower is the velvet bean. It stands foremost in this respect,
the only drawback being that it is hard to save and cure properly
for forage purposes.
Considerable has been written about this crop. Some find
much difficulty in making hay of it and are, therefore, ready to
condemn it at once. In my past experience, however, I have
found it an excellent, nutritious feed, comparing favorably with
alfalfa and clover hay. Of course, in our humid climate, it must
be cured with great care. It must not be cut when the dew is
on it, and it must be raked in shallow windows or piles at once,
allowing it to cure in this shape. I have frequently raked it
directly (not even cutting it) with a steel sulky rake, tearing
the roots from the ground, and have found this practice a splendid
one. It must be left to cure for several days after raking, ac-
cording to the atmospheric conditions, after which it must be
turned; a great deal of labor can be saved by tearing the bunches
apart with a sulky rake, for if put in large heaps the long tendrils
are apt to hold the heaps together and make it practically im-
possible to handle it or fork it thereafter. It must be thoroughly
cured before putting into hay mows or stacks. This does not
alone pertain to the leaves or foliage but to the vines themselves.


It is so nutritious that although it should turn black from fre-
quent heavy dews or light rains it is still well worth while to
preserve it for feed, as it can be fed during the season of the
year when animals are not hard at work. Fed green to cows, it
is a most extraordinarily nutritious feed, producing milk unsur-
passed in richness. It is also the very best of green poultry feeds,
poultry preferring it to any other green feed-they even eat the
ends of the green tendrils or vines. Horses must be fed very
sparingly of it, as it will cause them to bloat readily.
The hay should be salted before curing and putting in mows,
as it is then much more relished by all animals. It is much to be
preferred to cow peas from one point of view, as it is not subject
to root knot. I have frequently experienced considerable trouble
from this source.
Cow peas can be sown broadcast as light as three pecks to
the acre with splendid results. They are usually planted in rows,
very much as described in chapter on string beans. The hay
should be cured in the same manner as velvet beans but it does
not require as much attention, as this crop per acre is much
lighter in bulk,
Velvet beans a'.e usually sown in rows about ten feet apart.
I have found, however, that they cover the ground much more
quickly if the rows are sown one-half this distance, using for this
purpose a much heavier seeding, sowing one or one and one-half
bushels of velvet bean seed to the acre.
Of the different kinds of cow peas, we place first the Iron
variety as much to be preferred. A pure strain of these, if care-
fully saved, are less apt to produce root knot. In my experience,
however, I have found them subject to this disease, particularly
if planted on land which is already infested with the injurious
Among the native Florida grasses suitable for forage the
beggar-weed stands foremost. This, if cut at an early stage
before the seed is developed, will sprout up repeatedly from the
root and several crops can be cut, similar to alfalfa. I consider
the hay of beggar-weed in no way inferior to the latter. It must


be sown on well prepared soil at the rate of fifteen to twenty
pounds per acre.
Different varieties of millet and Kaffir corn are also easily
grown and if carefully cured make very good feed indeed. It
is best in this humid climate, however, to feed all hay within
a few months after it has been stacked away, as there is much
more danger of hay becoming musty here than in the more
northern and temperate countries.
I find for soiling, the velvet bean is probably one which will
add the greatest amount of nutritive matter to the soil. It is
more free from diseases and more rank in growth than any of
the other plants before named. Before plowing the velvet beans
under, should it be desirable to use the land shortly thereafter,
it is'best to cross cut the entire field with a sharp disc harrow,
leaving them to cure for a few days in this stage, and then plow
the entire mass under with a turn plow. However, should it
not be desirable to farm the land for some four or six weeks
thereafter, they can if first planked down thoroughly to the
ground, be plowed under directly without the process of discing,
using a heavy coulter on the plow for this purpose.
It is claimed in the northern countries that leguminous plants
will add from $4.00 to $Io.oo in ammoniates to each acre of soil,
but I am under the impression, as our fertilizers are valued much
higher in this territory, that we receive twice this amount, with
even better results from the velvet bean.
Another fact that must not be lost sight of in this connection
is that these leguminous crops benefit the soil directly by shad-
ing it during the protracted summer months, thus having a ten-
dency to add to the soil a value which cannot be computed by a
chemist's analysis.
Para grass will produce great quantities of forage here also
and makes excellent hay.
A number of our northern weed seeds seem to have acclimated
themselves to this country and may be used with great profit
for soiling purposes also. Among the latter are the Spanish
Needle, Rag Weed, and various other weeds.


It is possible that we may be able to acclimate some of the
clovers and alfalfa. Various favorable reports have been made
upon these useful leguminous plants. In all cases, it is best to
have the field thoroughly drained before attempting to grow
them, since they do not thrive in a sour or stagnant soil. In
seeding clover or beggar weed, great care must be exercised not
to get the seed too deep in the ground. Neither should the seed
be sown when the surface soil is exceptionally dry, because under
such conditions the sun's rays are apt to penetrate and destroy
the vitality of the seed before it has a chance to sprout. A very
good way is to first thoroughly prepare the field and then sow
the seed directly after a heavy rain.
Often much can be gained by sowing these seeds directly be-
tween the rows of vegetables at their last working. The land
at that time is free of weeds and the growth of the young plants
is not apt to interfere with the vegetables before they can be
harvested. By this method, considerable labor can be saved.
Should it be desired to save seed of any kind, great care must
be taken to choose a dry time of the season to pick and cure
them in, as otherwise the vitality will be impaired. Velvet beans
are best if picked right from the field and cured in an airy, shady
packing house. Should they be infested with weevil, as they are
liable to be, the seed, directly after being threshed out, should
be placed in a tight receptacle and treated with bi-sulphite of
carbon, placing about a gill in a shallow dish in the top of the
barrel or receptacle in which the seeds are deposited, covering
it over tightly with newspapers and other covers to exclude the
air. Precaution should be taken not to expose the fumes
of this dangerous explosive to the open fire as there is danger of
its igniting. Seed thus treated may be kept for the following
season. In fact, all seed should be sown only in the season fol-
lowing the one in which they are grown, as the humid atmosphere
here has a tendency to destroy their vitality in a very short time.





S WE have no freezes to help destroy insects,
we no doubt have a greater number to contend
with than our Northern growers. We have lit-
tle trouble with them during our rainy season,
but on the other hand, we are invariably pes-
tered with them in a protracted drouth, thus
showing that wet as well -as cold weather is
detrimental to them.
It seems a fact that fungi and insects of all kinds adapt them-
selves to the particular crops grown, and no sooner is a certain
crop produced successfully a'number of years in succession in
any locality, until injurious fungi and insects appear, at first in
a scattering way, but soon making themselves conspicuous by their
number and the consequential damage done; thus the tobacco
worm, the tomato worm, the boll weevil and other kindred insects
and fungi grow abundantly, and are each known in the country
where these certain crops are largely grown. Their stealthy ap-
proach generally finds the unsuspecting and otherwise busy
farmer unprepared to meet their onslaught. In fact, even after
the grower has, by years of experience, become thoroughly ac-
quainted with their injurious habits, they still come almost every
season as more or less of a surprise. It is nothing uncommon,
therefore, for him to awake some fine morning and find his
thrifty beautiful crops already partly devoured by these destructive
vermin, and I will venture to say that not a single season has
passed by but what dozens of growers are in this way discour-
agingly surprised and disappointed.
As in most cases of this kind, prevention is always to be
preferred to an actual remedy. It thus behooves the grower to
keep a sharp lookout, thereby endeavoring to anticipate these


unwelcome guests. This is best done by applying substances
known to be nauseous to them, by disguising the scent or smell
of the young plants, using harmless non-poisonous substances
such as powdered sulphur, or finely ground tobacco dust, etc. I
prefer to use in addition a combination of fungicides with poisons
added (such as Dry Bordeaux Mixture with Paris Green) there-
by being enabled to both prevent and annihilate insects and fungi
with the same applications. We have found in a practice of many
years, that the different forms of Bordeaux Mixture, both wet
and dry, are preferable for this purpose to any other remedy
exploited at the present day. By the addition of Paris Green to
this mixture, we obtain an insecticide and fungicide, which, be-
sides having the virtue of destroying both of these enemies, seems
to have the faculty of stimulating certain varieties of plants.
Whether this is purely imaginary, probably caused by the dark,
rich appearance produced by heavy applications of this fungicide,
or if it really has this stimulating effect, I am not entirely clear.
This I know, however, that such plants as tomatoes, egg plants,
peppers, or Irish potatoes, which have been regularly treated to
applications of this Bordeaux and Paris Green treatment, in-
variably have an appearance indicating thrift and rapid growth.
Next in importance is a fungicide I would name Flowers of
Sulphur. This, when applied in the early stages of plant growth,
seems to give almost as beneficial results as Bordeaux Mixture.
Paris Green can also be mixed with this, and if it is first adul-
terated, to the extent of about one-half, with air-slacked lime
(the lime having the effect in this case of neutralizing the other-
wise caustic action of the Paris Green) it answers almost as well
as Bordeaux Mixture and is much cheaper.
Foremost among useful poisonous insecticides stands arsenate
of lead. This form of arsenic will not dissolve in water and
therefore has no caustic action upon foliage. This insecticide
if properly prepared can be used upon any foliage without in-
jurious effects whatever. It mixes very readily with water ana
is held in suspension for a considerable length of time. It will


probably come to more general use as we become better ac-
quainted with its beneficial results.
As a spray for sucking insects, like the green aphis, for ex-
ample, which often does very serious damage in our fields of
cucumbers and egg plants, I have found nothing better than a
solution of whale oil soap. It has the power of not only destroy-
ing these insects together with their eggs, but the disagreeable
fishy smell seems to drive away the adult insects and keeps them
from depositing their eggs for some length of time after an ap-
Great care must be taken always in applying these remedies
to make sure that the caustic effect will not burn the foliage.
Before applying insecticides it is best to first make individual tests
upon each crop, for a crop that is growing luxuriantly is much
more easily damaged by such strong applications than one which
has its foliage hardened through drouth or other detrimental con-
As before mentioned, it is much better to combat both fungi
and. insects by anticipating or preventing their appearance, for
after they have once gained a strong foothold it is a difficult
matter to exterminate them. "An ounce of prevention is worth
a pound of cure."
In view of the fact that so many of the insecticides and fungi-
cides are either fraudulently combined and are extremely ex-
pensive considering the value of the ingredients employed, it
would be well for the public to be very sure of the composition
and value of any such compound before purchasing it in quanti-
ties, and for this reason I would advise the grower to obtain
samples and send them on to the State Chemist at Tallahassee
for analysis.
In many cases a great deal can be found out by consulting
bulletins from Experimental Stations dealing with this subject.
It is to supply this want that the Bureau of Chemistry has issued
bulletins which are a preliminary report to a bulletin more tech-
nical in character, which can also be gotten from the Agricultural
Department at Washington and which should be in the possession
of all contemplating truck farming in this country.


We seldom find a luxuriant thrifty field damaged by insects,
but on the other hand they seem to delight in damaging a field
which is hampered in growth in any way. Thus, vegetables are
frequently attacked by mildew in extremely dry weather, and
disastrous conditions are more frequently met with when the soil
is in want of moisture or the foliage has not been washed suf-
ficiently by rains heavy enough to benefit the crop. Thus light
rains are of little or no benefit and heavy fogs and dews during
drouths (this happens quite often early in the mornings in
Florida) encourage mildew as well as injurious insects when the
soil is very dry and the plants are in an unthrifty condition gen-
erally. Early applications of sulphur are probably the remedy
of greatest benefit here. I have found heavy applications of sul-
phur beneficial under these conditions even after the mildew had
advanced considerably.
You will find that the successful trucker who has his crops
well in hand as regards culture, irrigation, etc., is troubled but
little with insects or fungi; a healthy plant seems to have the
same immunity from disease that healthy humans or animals have.
By the scientific breeding and selection of plants much has
also been done. Occasionally healthy plants are found in dis-
eased fields and by carefully saving the seeds therefrom valuable
acquisitions are added to our lists.
Sulphur, if applied when plants are young, will prevent tomato
rust and the spotting of egg plants and peppers. Should a field
be known to be particularly subject to these diseases, kainit
should be harrowed in at the rate of 600 pounds per acre, as
described in notes on fertilizing. This seems to destroy injurious
germs and at the same time supplies abundant potash.
Isolating a field is often practiced with good results, as such
a field will often mature an entire crop before it is found by a
sufficient number of insects to do material damage.
I have found one of the best remedies for the extermination
of cut and other worms to be frequent applications of poisoned
bran made by thorough mixing (while dry) one pound of
Paris Green with 50 to Ioo pounds of wheat bran, moistening af-
terwards just enough so it will stick together. This can be applied


around the roots of small plants, or a tablespoonful scattered under
and around a larger plant.
We once had a field so badly infested with cut worms that
out of a thousand plants set out in the evening, scarcely a hun-
dred remained unharmed in the morning. We at once applied
poisoned bran broadcast, sowing it like oats, and when setting
out two days afterwards found scarcely a plant touched. The
satisfaction gotten from this test was probably worth as much
as the crop to us. Great care must, of course, be exercised not
to drop any large lumps of bran, otherwise fowls or animals may
be able to partake of enough to destroy them.
When planting cabbage, cauliflower and egg plants in the
early Fall it sometimes happens that they are infested by a small
greenish or yellowish worm; this worm can best be destroyed
by applying a pinch of fresh strong pyrethrum directly to the
tender heart of the plant. I have never found them troubled
much after the plants are half matured.






FAR-SIGHTED grower invariably looks for-
ward far enough to see that the most important
adjunct to trucking is to produce a crop of
useful trees in connection with his vegetable
industry. In fact, all varieties of useful trees,
particularly the citrus variety, thrive best on a
thoroughly cultivated and fertile soil, which
has been carefully drained and irrigated.
For best results the land should be plowed in widths corre-
sponding to the distance apart that the trees are to be planted. I
find in heavier soils that thirty or thirty-five feet is none too far
apart to have the rows of citrus trees; this pertains particularly
to grape fruit. I have known of grape fruit trees which pro-
duced a diameter of top thirty feet across when they were ten
years old. It is preferable to plow lands for trees twice in the
same direction, plowing the lands toward the centers each time
and planting the trees upon the apex, leaving the furrows to
connect with lateral and sublateral ditches for drainage.
For the first two years the trucking industry can be carried
on among these trees indiscriminately, planting such varieties of
vegetables upon which it is necessary to use fertilizer of a highly
nitrogenous* nature, as tomatoes, Irish potatoes, peppers or egg
plant. It is best, however, to be more careful in regard to heavy
applications of vegetable fertilizer after the second year, as the
disease known as "Die Back" (due to overfertilization) is apt
to gain a foothold. I have found that fine crops of beans can be
grown between the tree rows, without detriment to the trees,
the third and fourth year by applying only such fertilizers as are
locally known as fruit and vine fertilizers, or in other words,

See last part of Chapter VI.


containing a low per cent of ammonia,* probably 2/2 per cent or
3 per cent, and increasing the potash and phosphate propor-
It is also advisable to keep away from the trunks of the trees
several feet the third year with this fertilizer, and increase the
distance each year, corresponding with the development of the
growth of the trees. On the other hand, such trees as pecans
and tropical fruit trees can be grown for as much as six or seven
years under heavy applications of ordinary vegetable fertilizer
without detrimental results. In fact, my experience has prompted
me to believe that these heavy applications are beneficial to any
of the above trees throughout the first six or seven years of their
Much has been written about -the influence of the stock upon
the scion, but in no variety of fruits is it so marked as in the
citrus family. That the soil has considerable to do with this can
hardly be questioned, as trees that produce satisfactorily upon
certain stocks in one section of Florida are an absolute failure
in other localities of the State. For instance, most of the growers
in Central Florida have used the trifoliata stock with success, but
it certainly has proven an absolute failure in the southern part
of the State. Because of the failure of this stock to produce here,
it was at one time considered impossible to grow oranges and
grape fruit in extreme Southern Florida, but just at this critical
time the sour or rough lemon stock showed its adaptability here
and successful crops are now grown upon it.
One serious fault they have, however, is that this fruit goes
dry or pithy too early in the Spring, and another is that a sort
of second growth is produced in the fruit when the sap starts in
February which has a tendency to thicken the skin, and for these
reasons hurts its marketing quality and even makes it unsalable.
To produce a fruit par excellence, one having the finest quality
and flavor and one that will retain its weight throughout the sum-
mer, a sour orange stock should be used to bud on. As this stock
will not thrive on ordinary thin or poor pine land (sand), it can-
not be recommended for this soil, but it is pre-eminently adapted

See last part of Chapter VI.


to the rich soil of the Everglades where it will grow and thrive
as it does naturally along the margins of the hammocks. Being
immune to the disease known as "foot-rot" further commends it
for Everglade planting.
Other varieties of trees should be grown as wind breaks
around the edges of each separate field. I find that bamboos,
cocoanut trees and the eucalyptus respond very well in the Ever-
glades proper. These should be planted rather thickly in a belt
encircling, if possible, each ten acre plantation. Bamboos are very
valuable in this 'respect, as they not only offer great resistance
to the wind but produce a great number of stakes which can in
future years be used as braces to hold up the i.:i-r!ii:.ui crops
of grape fruit and oranges, etc. There will also be a market
for this useful wood in time. At present a great quantity of it is
imported annually from foreign countries, particularly China,
it being in strong demand for baskets, ornamental work, furniture,
window shades, porch screens, etc.



LTHOUGH this part of the South is generally
termed a frost-proof section, this claim does not
apply to tender vegetables. Citrus and tropical
fruits, however, are practically immune to such
light frosts as we have.
The truth is good enough and we need not
try to impress anyone with anything but the
facts as they exist here to induce immigration.
From the middle of December until the middle of March we are
in more or less danger of light frosts for short intervals. These
frosts extend well to the south end of this peninsula.
As to the conditions which produce damaging frosts, they
are as numerous as the kind of crops raised and vary with local
topography and proximity to bodies of timber or water. Soil
conditions have also considerable.to do with their severity. The
temperature of the air, in some instances many feet above the
earth, and the presence of clouds are other important controlling
factors also having effect. Calm or comparatively still air is a con-
dition which favors the formation of frost. On windy nights, the
air is not permitted to arrange itself in layers according to its
density. Ordinarily the densest and coldest air is near the surface
of the earth, but if it is at all windy it is kept stirred up or mixed
by the wind and is not allowed to settle and do injury to tender
The prospective grower has, therefore, a great many different
conditions to take into consideration. For instance, a body of
land that lies south and east of a body of water will almost cer-
tainly have ample protection from frost. Soil conditions also
often have the effect of driving away a frost as well as bringing
about such conditions as will have a tendency to draw frost.


Thus it has been proven that land that is not well drained is
much more subject to severe frosts than land which is thoroughly
drained. Again, a thorough irrigation just before a frost has
been found to drive it away, probably by reason of the greater
radiation taking place from the earth's pores.
Interesting experiments have been made by the United States
Government in the cranberry region, and it has been found that
thorough under drainage of the land has had the effect of raising
the temperature from four to eight degrees. It has also been
noted in these regions that large areas of certain well-drained
fields were unhurt, while other fields lying adjacent, but not
drained, suffered serious injury. Thus we may expect more
damage from frost to those fields that are not properly drained.
Again, when fields are thoroughly drained, nitrification sets
in and heat is at once produced, thus having a tendency by gen-
erating warmth and with the aeration derived therefrom of driv-
ing the frost upwards, showing that underground drainage has
an additional beneficial effect in furthering this decomposing or
nitrogenous action in the soil.
Large applications of nitrogenous substances, such as are
contained in compost or humus, also have a desirable effect. One
fact that must not be lost sight of in this connection is that while
these frosts are generally looked upon as disastrous to the country
in general, they have a beneficial effect in this way: If it should
destroy some of the fields in any locality, it will enhance the
market value of all products in fields remaining unhurt. The
profits in my experience have often doubled and trebled under
these conditions. I have experienced times when I was under
the impression that I had lost as much as 75 per cent of my
crop when really the gain on the remainder was such that it had
really increased the value of my entire output-or what would
have been formerly my entire output-by Ioo per cent or more.
Hence, I would advise everyone who is confronted by this dilemma
to first make sure that it is not visionary and apply himself closely
to the remnants of his crop, giving it the best of culture and
supplying other conditions conducive to its growth, thereby in a
large measure making up in value and often really increasing


his income from what seemingly would have been a loss. Another
beneficial effect of frost is that in this tropical climate nearly all
insects are at once destroyed for the time being and such crops
as are greatly hampered by them can be grown without ex-
periencing any trouble from this source for some months to
follow. One can always rest assured that when frost touches this
section it has wiped out everything north of here and that the
market on all perishables will advance strongly in consequence.
Inasmuch as frost in this territory is infrequent and light, it
often happens that only the foliage of tender growth is damaged.
In this case liberal applications of nitrate of soda will often have
the effect of restoring this foliage in a comparatively short time,
thereby bringing the plants, if otherwise thrifty and healthy, back
to their original state of vigor in a very short time.
I can here relate from my own experience an instance wherein
I had several acres of beans badly scorched by an unexpected
frost-in fact, there were large parts of the field that seemed
entirely destroyed. The sun had hardly risen until I was on my
wav to our nearest fertilizer dealer, from whom I at once bought
all the nitrate of soda at hand and before night of the same day
had made liberal applications to the entire field. Before ten
days had elasped I had the original foliage of this crop restored
and the profits in this case were as high as $2,000 per acre. We
at this same time saw numerous instances in which this same
remedy could have been applied in the neighborhood, but where,
through want of care or knowledge, mildew and other diseases
quickly ruined the crops.
For further protection, the grower must depend upon artificial
appliances. These appliances are designed to produce the fol-
lowing effects or results:
To prevent a rapid radiation of heat from the earth.
To artificially charge the air with moisture by applying a
light spray to the cold air.
To create artificial drafts whereby the warmer air is mixed
and the cold air is not allowed to settle to the surface of the earth.
To actually cover or roof the plants.


Of course, the latter is found impracticable on large areas, but
can be taken advantage of in cases of valuable seed beds.
'Devices designed to prevent rapid radiation of heat from the
earth include screens which can be drawn over the plants. These
devices are of a necessity limited to very small areas on account
of the great expense incurred.
Probably the great remedy of the future will be to build
smudge fires of any material which will create considerable smoke.
For this purpose litter of any variety can be used. However, it is
impossible in many cases to get enough of this material to continue
a smudge for any great length of time and for this reason piles
of: logs or stumps can be collected from clearings of land and
.can be stored to great advantage. Tar has been used for this
purpose with beneficial results. Of late we are offered a variety
of,smudge pots, using as fuel crude petroleum, which is supplied
from storage tanks or wagons driven through the fields. These
.have been largely used in the peach and apple belts of the north.
A number of them are placed upon the market in this country
and so far results have been very gratifying.
SWe may possibly be able to utilize briquettes made of peat, and
I am under the impression that if these were thoroughly dried
and saturated with crude petroleum they could be stored for
future use on the edges of the fields, and if they were burned
in an oven or sheet iron stove they would no doubt last for a
great length of time and give correspondingly good results.
Where an overhead spray is available frost cannot do damage
and a number of fields have already been protected in this way.
In the Everglades sub-lateral ditches can be filled with water
by pumps of large capacity, and if this water is allowed to flow
slowly through the dir.:!,, it will thoroughly protect a field from

4 j

--. w~.




IRDS play a very important part in the economy
of Nature, and by their destruction of insects
lend material aid to the farmer and horticul-
turist. We are greatly indebted to birds for
the extermination not alone of insects, but also
for the destruction of numerous weed seeds.
Everything should be done, therefore, to en-
courage birds to nest and stay near our vege-
table gardens.
In former years in the northern and central States, in which
I have had considerable experience in truck gardening and hor-
ticulture before coming to this country, I used to do all I could
to encourage the blue bird, of which there were a great many
in that vicinity, to nest near my truck gardens. The English
sparrow was at that time making a general invasion and monopoly
of the country, thereby driving the blue birds from their usual
haunts. By placing boxes, such as are suitable for their nesting,
around the edges of my vegetable field I found every one of them
inhabited by these little friends. The sparrow insists upon in-
habiting boxes or receptacles near a human habitation, but the
blue bird will nest in any box or cavity such as, for instance, where
a woodpecker has formerly had its habitation. While these little
friends do not inhabit this southern country, and I must say I
miss them very much, I find numerous other varieties of birds
from the North here during our winter months. Much as has
been written both for and against the English sparrow, but from
years of experience and close observation my impressions are
strongly in his favor. The complaint is made that the adult spar-
rows are grain eaters, and that they feed only their young on
insects. Of course this is not so, but even if it were, they rear


such a number of broods that they are busy during the greater
part of the year carrying and feeding them insects; especially
is this so here in the South where Winter interferes but little
with their brooding season.
I think, judging by their number, that every wren in the
United States winters in South Florida. I have seen these little
fellows by the hundreds throughout our pine woods and fields
in the Winter season.
Robins also make this their home, besides many other north-
ern birds, during the Winter, and as this is the season of the
year that we grow our vegetables, they are a very useful and
necessary adjunct to our success. We should, therefore, do all
we can to encourage them to stay near our vegetable gardens.
Shrubs and trees, such as are apt to attract birds, should be
planted, or if already at hand, should not be destroyed. Elders
often feed large numbers of birds and the small wild fig grown
upon what is locally known as the wild rubber tree, is greatly
sought after by all kinds of birds. Dog-wood and wild grapes
also have a tendency to draw them from outlying districts. Prob-
ably nothing surpasses the mulberry for alluring birds for this
purpose. There are a number of early bearing varieties of mul-
berries that can be planted and many of our tropical fruits, such
as the mango and surinam cherry, are much sought after by
these little friends. Woe be to the man who is so avaricious as to
shoot a bird which pilfers a few of his fruits! Every time
he kills one to save a few cents worth of fruit he is virtually
destroying dollars. I was once tempted to shoot a lark that was
caught pecking holes in half grown tomatoes; upon examining his
stomach I found the heads of thirty-six cut worms therein. I have
never shot a lark since that day nor permitted one to be killed
on my place by any one else.



SUITABLE finale for this effort would em-
body more thought and labor than one of the
pioneer order can be expected to have at his
command, but I deem a word in regard to
the future development of this great country
as at least not out of place. My prophecy is
that this great Everglade district will not only.
develop into a most beautiful and prosperous
country, but will in a short time prove itself the Eden of North
Imagine one solid body of rich soil, embodying several millions
of acres of land, all under a natural system of sub-irrigation,
surrounded by the tropical waters of the Gulf Stream and con-
nected on all sides by numerous deep canals, fanned by the con-
genial warmth of the trade winds-a veritable giant greenhouse,
basking under a Florida sun by day and under the dome of an
Italian sky by night. With these prosperous conditions once
exploited, backed by adequate capital, it will be easily possible
to travel across the entire peninsula on beautiful, wide palm-lined
boulevards in a few hours' time.
Come! 0, come with me, down to the Everglades!

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