Page images
PDF
EPUB
[graphic][ocr errors][merged small]

The leaves furnish a long fibre which that "the palm should have its feet in is excellent for cordage, mats, baskets the water and its head in the fire." An and so forth. The pulpy part of the leaf abundance of water at the roots, but the and stem can be made into paper which least possible humidity in the atmosphere is said to be of a superior quality; while are the chief requisites, and these are sugar, alcohol, wax, starch and dyeing found in various parts of Arizona and material form other by-products of the southern California, notably the Salton date palm, to say nothing of the wine Basin. Here the water is brought up made from sap of the old trees. In its from wells at a depth of about one hunAfrican home the palm is also used for dred feet, while artesian water is found building and furniture making and in at about five hundred feet. The desert fact enough beautiful pieces of furniture heat is intensified in this basin by the have been made by amateurs in this bare slopes of the mountains near by, country from the palm stems to suggest which throw back the rays of the sun another by-product. Thus in the culti- into the centre of the valley, producing vation of a desert plant we may find a an exceedingly dry and hot atmosphere. partial solution to the problem of re- A large acreage has been set out in claiming our own arid wastes.

date palms near Indio on the Salton The conditions for successful date Basin and until these young trees are growing are stated in the Arab proverb producing there will be good profits

from raising alfalfa which is planted between the trees, this doubling up of the crops being advantageous to both. Even more valuable than the alfalfa as a secondary crop is the cotton which is now being produced in the Coachella and Imperial valleys and which flourishes under like conditions with the date. This can be planted between the thirty-foot rows of trees without damage to either crop. Experiments have shown that the area adapted to date growing in California is also suitable for the raising of the long-fibred Egyptian cotton, an expensive variety which we import to the extent of sixteen million dollars every year. One of the companies which is

going into the date business extensively CLUSTERS OF GOLDEN SWEETNESS.

has built a cotton gin and warehouse

[graphic]
[graphic]

preparatory to raising these two crops on the same ground.

The date palms produce fruit in their third year and bear generously from the fifth year on and unlike most fruit trees do not deteriorate with age. Some of the historic palms in the Orient are said to be a couple of thousand years old and bear from 400 to 600 pounds per tree every year.

A source of revenue aside from the fruit is the sale of the off-shoots from the nature trees which are banked up so as to allow the shoot to form a root of its own. These may be cut away and used for extending the date orchard, or they have a ready market. This method of propagating by shoots is more satis

RIPE CALIFORNIA DATES. factory than that of planting the seeds

Compare these with the dirty, messy "corner grocery" even though the cost is greater, for the date has its peculiarities, one of which is that a seed of one variety may produce when the industry is conducted on a a tree of an entirely different nature larger scale such' trees would have a and you never can tell whether you are value as raw materials for cordage and going to get a superior or an inferior other manufacturing products. sort. Mr. W. F. Stevens, one of the On the other hand the propagation by pioneer date growers of the Salton off-shoots seems to be a matter of cerBasin, states that one may expect at least tainty even though much more expensive, one hundred plants of the best quality as the female tree of a given high grade of dates from the one thousand seeds date will produce nothing but female, or planted to the acre.

fruit-bearing, off-shoots of the same After the young trees come to flower grade. Experiments show that on an it is possible to determine which are the average the grower can take off one fruit-bearing, or female plants, and then shoot a year from a tree after its third almost all of the male plants, perhaps year up until its tenth year, although half of the total number of seedlings, cases have been known of off-shoots are taken up. But these are not a total being produced up to the twentieth year. loss as there is a good market for them The method of planting seedlings is in the cities for ornamental trees, and to set the trees in rows thirty feet apart

variety.

[graphic]
[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

and about eighteen inches between seeds “It is clear from what has preceded in the row. In this way it is possible in this bulletin that the Salton Basin is to plant about one thousand seeds to an not only the most promising region in acre. As the trees develop they are the United States for the culture of the thinned out until finally there is a space best sort of dates, but it is actually better of thirty feet between the trees in both adapted for the profitable culture than directions. In setting out shoots there those parts of the Saharan Desert where is the same space of thirty feet allowed the best export dates are produced. between the rows, of course, but the “There can be no doubt that the Deglet shoots in the row are not placed so close Noor date will ripen fully in the Salton together. When the trees are mature Basin, even when the season is excepthe long fronds will intertwine even at tionally cool. The importance of this that distance, forming vistas of graceful demonstration can hardly be overestiarches and yielding a delightfully coolmated, since it renders it possible to shade for the desert dweller. There is establish in America the culture of this probably no tree in the world which is choice date, the most expensive of dried more beautiful than the date palm with fruits, with certainty of success.' its long curving leaves and its huge clus- The foregoing bulletin states that at ters of golden fruit from eighty to one a conservative estimate 4,500 pounds of hundred and thirty pounds to the tree. dates can be produced per acre.

A Department of Agriculture bulletin This is not mere theory but conclugives this statement :

sions from actual tests in Arizona and “There exists already a large market the Salton Basin, where the government for a date of superior quality, suitable has an experimental fruit station with for household uses, and for employment ninety different kinds of date palms. In in confectionery, while demand for the addition to this there are several ranchfinest grade of Saharan Deglet Noorers in the valley who are producing mardates far exceeds the supply even when ketable fruit on a small scale. they are sold for more than selected the market price of these dates ranges Smyrna figs. American orders for a from thirty-five to fifty cents and even quarter million pounds have been refused to a dollar a pound for the fancy grades. by the Algerian producers because the No expensive artificial process is resupply barely sufficed the European quired to prepare the date for shipment; demand.

its own sugar is a natural preservative.

[graphic][ocr errors]

LANDING FOR SMALLER CRAFT AT TAMPICO, A SEAPORT ON THE PANUCO RIVER.

NAVIGABLE WATERWAYS OF MEXICO

By

W. D. HORNADA Y

\HE Mexican government be- up and down its course, bringing to the

gan the development of the market at Tampico for export and local inland waterways of that consumption enormous quantities of country several years ago. products which are raised upon the

There are a number of nav- rich plantations that extend back from igable rivers, which have been cleared its banks for many miles. The Soto la of obstructions and opened for traffic, Marina River which empties into the and the work is still in progress on Gulf of Mexico about 150 miles north some of the streams. Some of these of Tampico, is broad and deep at its rivers reach far into the interior and are mouth. It is navigable for river boats the arteries of trade for large scopes of for a distance of seventy-five miles. The territory. The Panuco River, which is government recently awarded the conused as a deep water harbor at Tampico, tract for removing the bar at the mouth situated a few miles from its mouth, is of this stream by means of dredging. navigable for a distance of 160 miles for This is the first step towards the estabboats of considerable size. Regular lishment of a new deep water port. The lines of steamers and smaller craft ply town of Soto la Marina is situated about thirty-five miles up the stream, and it The Rio Grande, which forms the inwill be made the future deep water port, ternational boundary line for more than according to present plans. The Soto la one thousand miles between Mexico and Marina, like most of the rivers of Mex- the United States, empties into the gulf ico, is short and deep. It carries a large about two hundred miles north of the flow of water the year around, due to Soto la Marina. The two streams are the heavy rains in the mountains where totally unlike in appearance. The Rio it has its source.

[graphic][merged small]

Grande water is muddy at all times,

while the water of the Soto la Marina as well as the other streams of Mexico is clear as the blue sky which shines overhead. Below Tampico a little more than one hundred miles is the Tuxpan River which empties into the gulf at the town of Tuxpan. It is also navigable for a considerable distance, having a depth of more than thirty feet. But for the fact that the water over the bar at its mouth is only six and one-half

feet deep ocean-going vesONE OF THE Boats That PLY THE WATERS OF LAKE TAMIAHUA. sels would be able to tie

up at the wharves at Tux

pan and it would become

[graphic]
« PreviousContinue »