Page images

Charleston County. It is thus easy to estimate that the present trucking area of this district could be doubled if only the most accessible and best suited lands were used.

Trucking has only recently been established as an important industry in the other seacoast counties of the State, yet Georgetown County shows over 400 acres of strawberries alone in the census year. A field of Klondyke berries is shown in Plate XLVIII, fig. 1. Horry County grows approximately 2,500 acres of strawberries each year, and Columbus County, immediately across the line in North Carolina, produces berries from a considerably larger acreage. Some other truck crops are also grown in all of these counties. Yet less than 1 per cent of the farm-land area of the general region is used for truck production. It is almost literally true to estimate that, so far as land area is concerned, the undeveloped trucking lands of these coast counties of North Carolina and South Carolina number hundreds of thousands of acres.

The trucking industry around Wilmington, N. C., has been established since 1875, but the chief growth of the area did not commence until 10 years later. The Wilmington district is especially noted for its bed and field lettuce crops. The former are grown under canvas cover to prevent their injury by the mild winter frosts. The lettuce matures in early March. The field crop matures a month to six weeks later. From a half acre of bed lettuce one grower har-, vested lettuce to the value of $1,756, or at a rate in excess of $3,500 per acre, in the spring of 1912. Numerous crops of field lettuce have yielded at the rate of $1,200 per acre when climatic and market conditions were both favorable. One of the best of these fields is shown in Plate XLVII. The field lettuce does not command so high a price, and the cash returns are correspondingly less, although the yields may be as large or larger.

Early Irish potatoes are an important crop in this district, and the spring crop is harvested in time for the production of a forage or cotton crop during the summer season. The yields from the Norfolk fine sandy loam range from 40 to 65 barrels per acre. In one instance a progressive trucker combines winter and spring trucking with the production of summer forage crops for the feeding of a fine herd of dairy cattle. All but a portion of the grain ration is raised on the farm, and a trucking business is combined with good dairy farming, to the financial benefit of both. The maintenance of the crop-producing power of that land is assured.

A variety of other truck crops are grown in small acreages, and it is estimated that 6,000 to 7,000 acres of land are occupied for truck and fruit crops. Soil surveys in the district have shown the existence of 40,000 acres of available land for trucking in New Hanover County alone, while several times that amount of such soils exists in the near-by counties of North Carolina.

Trucking has been entered into as a specialized form of farming at numerous other points in the State, particularly near Newbern. Some of the northeastern counties of the State are now developing trucking lands. Yet throughout eastern North Carolina it may be said that there are 100 acres of good trucking soil undeveloped for every acre that has yet been utilized.

The Norfolk, Va., trucking area is probably the best known as well as the oldest trucking district of the Atlantic coastal region. It is estimated that nearly 35,000 acres of land are devoted to truck crops in this district, which comprises parts of Princess Anne, Norfolk, Nansemond, and Isle of Wight Counties, in Virginia. The gross returns from this business exceed $8,000,000 each year.

The early Irish potatoes are the chief crop in acreage and value. The value of this crop usually exceeds $2,000,000. Strawberries are next in importance, giving an annual return in the vicinity of $1,000,000. Kale and spinach, grown as winter crops, are harvested to a value of nearly $1,000,000 each year. Cabbage, peas, and beans constitute the other more important crops, although cucumbers, radishes, beets, melons, and sweet potatoes are grown on a considerable acreage.

It is probable that the available land supply for trucking purposes has been more nearly utilized in the Norfolk district than in any of the other trucking regions of the Atlantic coast region. Yet there exists in the northern portion of the counties named an area of the Portsmouth and Norfolk series in excess of 110,000 acres and in the vicinity of the port of Norfolk not less than 250,000 acres of these peculiarly truck-soil types. The extension of the trucking industry in the district is more dependent upon the furnishing of adequate drainage and added local transportation facilities than upon available soil acreage.

In the absence of detailed soil surveys of the counties of eastern Virginia and southern Delaware, it is not possible to give a detailed statement of the unused but available trucking lands of the VirginiaMaryland-Delaware Peninsula. Yet it is known that not 1 acre in 50 available for vegetable and small-fruit production is yet utilized for growing these crops. The soils are well adapted to trucking, and the climate is fairly favorable, while the transportation facilities are excellent, and both the time and distance of the haul to the great city markets are small.


While it is still impossible to give an accurate and detailed statement of the acreages of land suited to the production of winter and spring vegetables in the Atlantic coast region, it may be stated posi

tively that the areas now utilized for such purposes constitute only a fraction of 1 per cent of the total land area which may ultimately be made available.

The first requirement for the development of these lands will be a market demand which shall justify the increased production, through paying a price for the product commensurate with the expenditures and risks undertaken by the producer. This may be attained through the natural increase in the consuming population and, to a more marked degree, through the extension of the markets to hundreds of thousands of city dwellers who never taste the fresh vegetable products at the periods of the year when these crops are placed upon the market. A reduction in city price is essential to secure this latter extension of the business. This constitutes one of the greatest problems of food distribution remaining to be solved.

Added transportation facilities will probably be furnished as rapidly as a stable increase in production is assured. This has been the history of the development of the trucking business for the last ten years. Extension of transportation lines into new territory will accompany the general development of the territory.

Extensive community and private drainage works must be undertaken before some of the best soils for trucking are rendered available in this section. The level savannah lands, the pocosons, and the swamps imperatively require drainage. (See Pl. XLVIII, fig. 2.) The more elevated uplands will frequently be benefited by more complete drainage, and many of the tidal swamps, occurring along the streams and at the estuarine mouths of the larger rivers, may be reclaimed, ultimately, for the production of concentrated forms of human food.

It may be said that capital for development and human labor for the working of the lands are the chief local problems attendant upon the wide extension of food production in the general region. There is land enough and climate sufficiently favorable to return the vegetable and fruit supplies required by many times the present population of the country. Lack of suitable lands is eliminated for many generations, and further development awaits upon the solution of economic problems rather than upon the discovery of suitable soils.



In charge of planting, District 1, Forest Service.


There are within the National Forests approximately 15,000,000 acres of land at present unproductive but capable of supporting tree growth. These areas will serve their highest use only when made to produce forests; now they are covered with worthless brush or are bare of vegetation. In many places fires have swept the forest away, and on these lands, scattered throughout the forests from Florida to Alaska, trees will come again through natural reforestation, and in a reasonably short time if fire is kept out. At least half of the area, however, aggregating 7,500,000 acres, can be reforested only through artificial planting, either of seed sown directly where the new forest is to grow, or of young trees raised in nurseries and set out as soon as they are sturdy enough to withstand the hardships with which they have to contend.


No matter which of these two methods is used to get the new stands of timber, it is plain that a vast lot of seed is needed. During 1911, as a case in point, the Forest Service sowed seed on over 23,000 acres, and planted over 2,000 acres with young trees. While the seed of different species have widely differing weights, it is fair to say that the sowing averaged not less than 6 pounds to the acre; and to raise the young trees which were set out, about 2 pounds of seed went for each acre of planted trees. There were required, on this basis, 143,401 pounds of seed. As a matter of fact, the Forest Service had on hand 161,880 pounds of seed, of which the stupendous quantity of 107,780 pounds, or more than 53 tons, had been collected on the National Forests in the fall of 1910. The remaining 54,100 pounds, mostly of European species suitable for introduction into this country, were purchased in the open market. In 1911, which was not a good seed year, the Forest Service collected 63,061 pounds of seed.

73029°-YBK 1912-28

The aim is to restore to the National Forests the most valuable timber trees suited to each region-conifers in general and the pines in particular, because they grow rapidly and yield good lumber. Taking the pines as a whole, the seeds run about 30,000 to the pound, and it takes about a bushel of cones to yield 1 pound of cleaned seed. These figures are only approximations, but they serve to show the magnitude of the task of collection. For example, to store the seed gathered for the planting of 1911 would require a hypothetical bin 10 feet square at the ends and more than a quarter of a mile long.


At the rate of 30,000 acres a year it would take almost three centuries to complete the task of reforestation now before the Forest Service. This rate, however, will be greatly accelerated; the plantings which have been accomplished are, in the light of the work still to be done, merely experimental. This experimental work alone has required scores of tons of seeds; the work to come is going to take hundreds of tons.

Where, then, will all this seed be got? To purchase it, even if it could be had of dealers, would cost an immense amount of money. Experience has shown that it can be collected by the regularly organized force of the Forest Service much more cheaply than it can be bought in the open market. Yet it can be collected at small cost only because the work is carefully organized and painstakingly su pervised as to the smallest details. Many of the heavier tasks of seed collection are carried on as distinct lines of work, because much concentration is required to gather from 5,000 to 15,000 pounds of seed of a single species, especially when the seed of that species ripens and falls in a short time and the cones must be gathered before they open. On the other hand, some of the collecting needs no peculiar organization, and forms a part of the routine duties of the forest rangers and guards.


It has been found that a large force concentrated on seed collecting, especially when seed is plentiful, materially reduces the cost. For instance, in the use of horses in the transportation of cones the weight of the load is no great matter, and the greater the quantity of available cones the smaller the cost per pound of seed.

The cost of seed of the species most used, when gathered by the Forest Service, averages about $1.65 per pound. The average cost of the same species from seed dealers is $3. Western yellow-pine seed has been the cheapest, at 80 cents a pound, but during abundant seed years it has cost much less than that. Western yellow pine costs about

« PreviousContinue »