Front Cover
 Possibilities of winter farming...

Title: Possibilities of winter farming in Lee County, Florida
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00055205/00001
 Material Information
Title: Possibilities of winter farming in Lee County, Florida
Physical Description: 16 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Hoadley, Arthur
Farmer's Committee (Fort Myers, Fla.)
Publisher: Farmer's Committee
Place of Publication: Fort Myers Fla
Publication Date: c1926
Subject: Agriculture -- Florida -- Lee County   ( lcsh )
Description and travel -- Lee County (Fla.)   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: <by Arthur Hoadley>
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00055205
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002656382
oclc - 01748603
notis - ANC3466

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Possibilities of winter farming in Lee County, Florida
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
Full Text



The purpose of this booklet is to give prospective
settlers reliable and helpful information pertaining to
the agricultural advantages and possibilities in Lee
County, Florida.

This booklet is issued under the auspices of the
Farmers' Committee of Lee County and is paid for by
the Board of County Commissioners. The Farmers'
Committee is sponsored by the Kiwanis Club, and the
personnel of the committee is composed of representa-
tives from the City, County, Rotary Club, Chamber of
Commerce, Lions' Club, Kiwanis Club, and the leading
farmers of the county.

The information contained in this booklet has
been gathered from personal observation of those in
charge of its preparation, or from official and authen-
tic sources.

This is not a real estate proposition-nothing is
offered for sale. This committee has no motive other
than to assist in locating prospective farmers on land
that may be farmed profitably and to direct them along
the right lines.

If you desire more information in regard to farm-
iag than is contained herein, write to the Farmess' Com-
mattee, P. 0. Box 428, Fort Myer, Florida.

i. L,

e- 6205571


By Arthur Hoadley

The writer will endeavor in this article to give an
outline of the possibilities for agriculture in Lee Coun-
ty, Florida, as seen by him after being engaged in the
business here for a period of four years.
This county has wonderful possibilities for the
growing of vegetables and fruits during the winter
months when the Northern States are frozen up and
covered with snow. Being as nearly below the frost
line as one can get in the United States, it is especially
favored in that respect. A normal winter here is
blessed with sunshine and warmth during almost the
entire year.
Our soils are varied, ranging from sand to muck,
including loam in our hammocks and low ground, with
quite a good deal of black sand and sandy loam. We
have protection here that is second to none in the State,
by the Caloosahatchee River, San Carlos Bay and the
Gulf of Mexico, which is sufficient to carry our crops
\ through the winters without damage. If we can interest
the right kind of farmers; namely, men with families
who have some means and who desire to do their own
work themselves, avoiding the necessity of hiring all
their work done; and who would want to start in a
small way, securing say, ten to twenty acres and not to
S exceed forty acres of land, and learn the business as they
go, they would find it both profitable and pleasant to be
engaged in the growing of winter vegetables and fruits,
or to be engaged in poultry raising and dairying.
It is not possible so grow here at a profit such
crops as are grown in our immense farming territories of
the North and West.

Lee County is quite a large county, containing
565,760 acres, a great part of which is undeveloped.
*We have an immense back country that is still in virgin
timber, with a part of it having been cut over. Its nat-
ural drainage is the Caloosahatchee River, together
with a number of other small rivers and cheeks.


Lee County is on the West Coast of Florida. It is
400 miles farther south than the southern boundary of
California; 300 miles farther south than New Orleans;
312 miles south of Jacksonville; and 125 miles south
of Tampa. This county, being located as it is on the
Gulf coast, offers an opportunity for the growing of
fruits and winter vegetables which are delicate and will
not stand severe cold, even though it does not frost.

Along our streams we, also, have an immense territory
that offers great opportunities for the growing of citrus
fruits, avacados, pineapples, bananas, and a number of
other tropical fruits; and the more outlying territory
offers great opportunities for dairying, as the land is
cheaper, which is necessary for the handling of the
dairy industry.


~I. 't

r f


With reference to climate, it would he hard to im-
agine any that is more delightful than we have in this
part of South Florida, especially from September 15th
to May 1st. Florida has done a lot of advertising; has
spent a lot of money telling the world about her sun-
shiny days, and those same days of sunshine during the
winter months here are good days to grow fresh vege-
tables for Northern markets. It is interesting to get
up in the morning at five o'clock and go to work with-
out a coat, planting, cultivating, or harvesting some
crop that a temperature of 35 degrees Fahrenheit would
kill, and at the same time be aware of the fact that a
blizzard is raging in the North and that in many parts
of the United States the thermometer is below zero.
When it becomes generally known that Florida climate
is not only good in the winter but is also good in
summer, we shall then have a greater population in
Florida. By daily reference to the weather map, one
would soon realize that it not only does not get so cold
in Florida in the winter as it does in the Northern
States, but that it does not get so hot in the summer as
it does in the Northern States. It is quite common to
have a temperature here of 85 degrees in the summer,
and, on reference to the newspapers, find that it was
105 degrees in many places in the Northern States;
hence, you see, we have not only a delightful winter cli-
mat, but a most pleasant summer climate as well, en-
abling us to work in our fields twelve months in the
year and to forget expensive clothing, housing, and fuel


* mt. ~di

Average Average Average Rainfall
1920-'26 Monthly Highest Lowest Av. for 20 yra.
January 66.2 84.0 42.1 2.10
February 65.2 84.1 40.2 2.18
March 69.6 88.0 45.0 2.11
April 74.2 90.5 51.4 2.30
May 76.5 92.4 58.1 3.79
June 80.5 94.3 66.2 9.07
July 81.1 93.5 68.2 8.22
August 81.9 94.3 69.2 8.17
September 81.7 93.3 68.4 7.52
October 75.9 90.3 57.5 3.48
November 70.5 86.2 44.3 1.43
December 67.0 83.3 43.1 1.67
Annual. 74.2 52.04
Highest temperature over this period of years 97
degrees; lowest temperature, 33 degrees.

Our average rainfall is something like 50 inches
per year, the most of which we get through the months
of June, July, and August, this period being what is
called our dull season. Little attempt is made to grow
crops here during these months, our planting being done
from about September Ist to about March Ist, except in
a very limited way. During the growing season it is
quite common to have frequent showers, or rains, which
are very advantageous to our crops, although we depend
upon, and should be prepared with, irrigation to furnish
the moisture, but often the irrigation is used very little
during the growing season.
As already stated, our soils in Lee County range
from sand to muck, the greater part of which is gray
or dark sandy loam. It is underlaid with sands of
different colors, some little rock and some small spots of
hardpan and marl. Both the rock and hardpan are an
advantage, as they hold our irrigation waters up and
give us the advantage of it. While our soils are not
sufcient in themselves to grow a good crop without the
aid of commercial fertilizer, Nature was kind to this
county in placing here the oil we have, as soils can
be found here suitable for the rowing of almost any
crop one would wish to grow.


Due to the fact that we have such a heavy rain-
fall in this locality, adequate drainage is an absolute
necessity, and he who tries to farm without first equip-
ping his farm with the proper drainage to take care of
the surplus water and to dry the ground after the sur-
face water has escaped, has made a poor beginning.
Drainage in agriculture stands parallel to education in
society, and it is more a fact here than any place the
writer has ever seen.

Following the proper drainage of a farm or garden
here, irrigation is next in importance. This particular
part of Florida is especially blessed by having, seeming-
ly, an unlimited supply of artesian water in two or
three different strata underlying the entire county.
The first stratum is about 200 feet deep, the second
about 500, and the lowest or third stratum, which gives
the strongest flow and the most uniform high pressure,
is from 700 to 1000 feet deep. Either of these strata
will give water sufficient to irrigate quite a large tract
of land. The lower stratum is giving water at the
present time in sufficient quantities from a six-inch
well to irrigate sixty acres of land, and, possibly, it
a would take care of 100 acres; and this, too, after one
of our longest dry periods. A four and one-half inch
well is sufficient in the second stratum to take care of
five or ten acres without trouble of shortage.




f. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ;* :-"1-.^ ^ ^^ ^
t. ~ ~ ~ .: .** *- ** ;ctl

The crops grown in this county do not cover as
many varieties as they should. Efforts in the past have
been confined to such crops as bell peppers, tomatoes,
Irish potatoes, eggplants, cucumbers, squash, green
beans, watermelons, and a few of the more staple crops.
In our opinion, we should find it to our advantage to
enlarge our list of crops grown for shipment to the
Northern markets. I think it is quite possible to de-
velop a large bulb-growing industry in this locality.
It is possible to add such crops as okra, artichokes, cauli-
flower, and a number of other crops, as the farming in-
dustry here is not old, but is really in its infancy. The
future will prove that a lot of things can be grown here
at a profit of which nothing is known at the present

Irish Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes

Planted in Field
Sept. 1 to Feb. 1
Sept. 1 to Feb. 1
Sept. 1 to Jan. 15
Nov. 1 to Feb. 1
Oct. 10 to Mar. 10
Sept. 25 to Feb. 20
Sept. 25 to Feb. 20
Jan. 1 to Feb. 15
Year round
Sept. I to Jan. 1
Sept. 25 to Feb. 15
Jan. 1 to Oct. 1

1st Shlpm't
Nov. 1
Nov. 1
Nov. 1
Feb. 1
Nov. 20
Nov. 15
Nov. 15
Apr. 10
Yr. R'nd
Dec. 2O
Nov. 25
Apr. 10

Last Shipm't
Jun. 1
Jun. 1
Jun. 1
Apr. 10
Apr. 20
May 1
May 1
Jun. 15
Yr. R'nd
May 15
May 16
De. 1



Other crops that may be grown in the winter
months, either for home use or as market garden crops,
are: Turnips, beets, rutabagas, carrots, brussels sprouts,
parsnips, kohl-rabi. radishes, lettuce, rape, mustard,
collards, cauliflower, sugar corn, spinach, onions, kale,
and a number of others. Okra, butter beans, pole beans,
cowpeas and sweet potatoes are grown during the sum-
mer months.
A glance at the tables above will show that crops
are grown in Lee County the year round, and that the
majority is harvested and shipped North during the
winter months, when the prices are highest.



The possibilities here for dairying in a small way
are good. Green pastures can be provided all the year.
It is true that only certain feed can be grown here as
cheaply as it can be purchased, but dairy products are
extremely high, and most of the year are very
scarce, especially during the winter months, when the

tourists are here. The writer has had a great deal ot
experience in the dairy business in a Northern State and
is convinced that money can be made here in the dairy
business if proper efforts are put forth, either as an ex-
clusive dairy farm, or in connection with poultry raising
or vegetable growing.


p~! I.. .. lCr

Second to the dairy industry is poultry raising. I
know of no place that offers a better opportunity for
profit in the poultry business than is offered here, as
both eggs and chickens are shipped into this county
twelve months in the year. Not one-tenth enough
eggs or chickens are grown here to supply the local mar-
ket, and if a poultry business were operated on a small
scale with even a vegetable farm, or a dairy, and proper
efforts extended, it would pay a handsome return.


The writer is a firm advocate of co-operative sell-
ing, and believes that the best results can be obtained
through the organization, under the proper charter, of
a co-operative packing and selling association. The
association would pack and sell the entire output of its
member growers and could even embrace the hauling of
the crops from the field to the packing house, thus do-
ing away with the necessity of each grower owning a
truck. This association should, also, handle fertilizer,
spraying material and seed; and should furnish same to
the growers at cost, plus a reasonable charge for expense
of handling. It should be so organized that it could
furnish to the growers every advantage possible, such
as competent field men to advise growers as to when
and what to plant in order that crops could be mar-
keted to the best advantage. This would enable the
growet to devote his entire time to the production end
of his business, and he could then depend on the asso-

citation to do the selling. I am more convinced every
year that best results can be obtained only where a well-
managed association is doing the selling for the grower,
as the individual grower is often taken advantage of
by the buyer.

The matter of transportation is an important
one in any country, and especially in an agricultural
country. This county will soon have adequate rail-
road facilities reaching practically all parts of it, as a
second railroad is being built here now, and they intend
to run branch lines to both the west and the east sides of
county. This will give us competing lines, and we hope
that competition will do the railroad situation some
good here. Our county is, also, engaged in a campaign
of road building that will soon extend over the entire
county, giving us perfect hard roads, well built and
vell surfaced, reaching a lot of new territory and giv-
ing us adequate transportation for trucks and private
cars. Our County Commissioners have always shown
a willingness and have been ready at all times to build
roads, even though temporary, to take care of any ter-
ritory being improved where roads were needed for the
transporting of products to market. Hence our trans-
portation problem is well taken care of.
The problem of schools is the all-important mat-
ter for the young generation growing up on the farm,
and I believe I am safe in staring that this county will
build adequate school buildings and furnish competent
instructors in any community where such might be

needed. The high schools are all centrally located and
pupils are carried to and from them in buses which
system has proved very satisfactory. The schools are of

F -

.1.. ~-
:I i.
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~Z.rg~-lkk 91

the very best and I feel sure that no one need hesitate
about locating here because of fear of inadequate edu-
cational opportunities.


The matter of church facilities is well taken care of
there being churches of every denomination, well
conducted and well attended. The majority of people
enjoy attending our churches and always receive a
hearty welcome. Especially do they try to make strang-
ers feel at bome within their doors, which fact makes
our churches something that we are all extremely
proud of.

Even though one may live on a farm, it is neces-
sary to have a certain amount of recreation. This
county offers opportunities in that direction which are
not enjoyed by a great many localities. We have our
salt water bathing at our beaches on the Gulf, and boat-
ing and fishing second to none in our beautiful rivers
and along our entire coast line all the year round. We
have immense undeveloped forests, where deer and
turkey are found in abundance, and this sport is enjoyed
by many during the open season. These sports, to-
gether with our golf courses, tennis courts, baseball, and
band concerts, amply take care of this problem of recre-
ation. As the life here is all out-of-doors, recreation
can be found here every day in the year that is enjoyable
to even the most exacting. With our wonderful cli-
mate, beautiful waters, palm-lined boulevards, and ever-
green forests, we have something really worth while to
This booklet, as previously stated, is written try-
ing to reach "the small farmer," a man who might
want to locate here to escape the severe winters in the
North, or to improve his condition and chances of suc-
cess; who is fitted mentally and physically to do farm
work: and who has a family who might assist him, thus
avoiding the necessity of hiring all his work done. The
labor situation has dealt equally severe with our locality
as it has with other parts of the country. On account
of the high wages we have to pay, we do not receive the
returns we should have on our investment where all
labor must be paid for, and, in my opinion, the best

success will be made in this county, not by one man
controlling and farming fifty acres with hired labor,
but by each man and his family farming from five to
ten acres, depending upon the crops planted.
To a great many who read this booklet, it may
seem strange when I state that a splendid living and a
reasonable profit can be made for a family of four or
five people by the returns from five to ten acres of land.
This is because ours is what we call high-pressure farm-
ing. We grow our crops here and ship them to North-
ern markets when it is almost impossible to get them
elsewhere, thereby getting the advantage of a high-priced
Our planting begins here in our seedbeds the latter
part of July. We begin setting our plants in the open
field the first week in September. It is possible in this
country to plant seed or set plants in the open field
continuously from September to the first of March. On
most of the land here we grow two and sometimes three
crops; often have two crops growing on the land at one
time, one of which is being harvested and the other
just starting, thereby enabling us to get double returns
from our soil each year. I feel that I am safe in making
the assertion that if five acres are properly farmed in this
county, the man doing it would receive more money
for his crops than is now received by the average North-
ern farmer who handles 100 acres of land. A gross re-
turn of $1000.00 per acre for a crop is not unreasonable
at all, the writer having grown one crop here for
which he received compensation at the rate of a little
over $1000.00 per acre, and is now harvesting a crop
which is being sold to the local market that is bringing
a gross return of over $2500.00 per acre, but this latter
can be done only in a very limited way. From such
crops as peppers, tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, Irish po-
tatoes, and squash, we get a return of from $300.00 to
$800.00 per acre, depending upon our success and the
The opportunity is here for the man who likes to
farm and expects to continue farming; who has a little
money and is willing to put up with some disappoint-
ments while he is learning the game in this locality; and
who wants to sell his labor where it will bring the
most returns in cash, comfort, happiness, and health
for his family. There is a splendid opportunity in this
county for from 500 to 1000 farmers who want to
make a permanent home and to help develop our agri-
cultural industry, which should be shipping from five


to ten million dollars in products to Northern markets
every year. We need men who want to work and who
have-families that want to help to build their own com-
munities and their own social organizations, and we are
going to offer them every assistance possible.
We shall be glad to explain everything fully to a
prospective investor here and to assist him in every way
in getting located where he can make a success in the
branch of agriculture he prefers to follow. Our bank-
ers are "good live ones" and offer every opportunity to
the agricultural industry and favor it as much as pos-
sible; but the men we want, if we can get them, will
within a short time be using the banks for the purpose
of making their deposits, and not for the purpose of

(Copyrighted August, 1926, Farmer' Committee)


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