An excerpt from the INTRODUCTION:WHAT Jethro Tull did to improve tillage, the author of Ten Acres Enough did to prove that intensified agriculture on small areas could be made not only to support a family, but to yield a handsome profit, andMoreAn excerpt from the INTRODUCTION:WHAT Jethro Tull did to improve tillage, the author of Ten Acres Enough did to prove that intensified agriculture on small areas could be made not only to support a family, but to yield a handsome profit, and health, freedom and happiness as well.
It has taken two centuries for the most advanced farmers to appreciate Tull and his teachings. It has taken nearly half a century in this progressive age to appreciate and to put in practice, in a feeble way, the fundamental principles which underlie all our dealings with Mother Earth as set forth in this modest volume of two hundred pages.If one totally ignorant of the principles and practices of the various operations necessary to bring to perfection the many plants with which Agriculture has to do, were limited to two publications, I would advise him to purchase Horse-Hoeing Husbandry and Ten Acres Enough.The mistaken ambition for owning twice (often ten times) as much land as one can thoroughly manure or profitably cultivate, is the great agricultural sin of this country, says the author.
In California where this is being written, this mistaken ambition prevails to an alarming extent. Too often, farmers have become soil robbers. This state appears to excel all others in its haste to filch from the land every valuable timber tree, every pound of nitrogen, every vestige of humus that can be extracted at a present profit however small, with apparently no thought of the future productivity of the land, the future welfare of the farmer, or the permanent prosperity of the community.I have made a careful study of the conditions of agriculture in the Santa Clara, San Jose and Sacramento Valleys, and I am irresistibly led to the conclusion that the great ranches must be broken up into small holdings before permanent prosperity can come to the farmers of the Pacific Coast.
On a recent visit to a ranch of several thousand acres, where things appeared prosperous and the cattle looked well bred and well fed, I could not refrain from asking the impolite question, Does it pay? The reply was: We have been here ten years- have put in - dollars, gotten up at two in the morning to get the milk delivery wagon started in time, have four hundred head of cattle and thirty horses, and if I should sell out to-day, I would not have a dollar clear profit.A few days after, I called on my college graduate Mend.
He has just ten acres all in fruit - peaches, apricots and prunes - all of which he will dry, as transportation is uncertain and expensive and the eastern market for undried fruit precarious. Again I asked, Does it pay? He replied: Well, we have three children, my wife and I have worked hard except in the six weeks harvesting time, we have a comfortable living, some spare time, and on an average secure a profit of about three hundred a year after allowing a modest interest on the investment. The orchard is not yet in full bearing and we should do somewhat better in the future and vastly better when the well is bored and a pump provided for irrigating once or twice yearly.
In this locality, land suitable for fruit is held at one hundred and fifty to two hundred dollars per acre. Where the planted orchard has been in bearing for two or three years, that is, produces two-thirds of a crop, it sells at eight to nine hundred dollars per acre. If well and pump are added, the value is increased to one thousand or eleven hundred dollars per acre.