Abbildungen der Seite

fifty miles in length, and possessing capacities for agricultural production equal to any in the State.

This will appear the more evident and necessary, when we find that the lower bottoms above the Salinas valley are capable of producing a wheat crop (at thirty-two bushels per acre,) sufficient to meet the demands of a population numbering three times that of the present State-say nine hundred thousand.”

There are other fertile valleys of considerable extent described by the author, but lest we should extend this article to too great a length, we will conclude with a description of the SOILS OF THE VALLEY SANTA CLARA AND SHORES OF

THE BAY SAN FRANCISCO. The soils on the Bay San Francisco differ much on its eastern and western sides; both borders of the Bay present the tertiary series, but both do not present the trapean rocks to the same degree of development; this, then, of course, will cause a distinctive and marked difference in the productive capabilities of either shore. It will be found, that in all the soils which have been derived, in whole, or in part, from rocks more recent than the tertiary group, that a more extensive and varied adaptation to agricultural purposes will be present ; this will be particularly manifest in those sections where the tertiaries, containing organic remains, enter somewhat largely into the components of the soil produced from such sources.

We often meet an extensive and even tract of country lying at the base of a range of hills of the character named above, which are found pot to possess so high a degree of fertility as an adjoining section, yet both have derived their soil from the same sources; it becomes not only interesting but important to ascertain the cause of such a discrepancy, and an attentive examination will often point out a natural obstruction of a mechanical nature which has thus been the cause of the impoverishment which may be present. In this case a barrier will often be found among the foothills which has prevented the uniform distribution of the disintegrated rocks above, rendering the plain within its line less productive, rather than the introduction of any new agent, except, perhaps, that derived from the rocks forming that barrier, the amount of which would be inconsiderable, compared to the mass of alluvium beyond.

In illustration of this a single case only will be mentioned. On the Valley Santa Clara, a few miles east of San Jose, the mountains are capped with fossiliferous sandstone for miles in extent, north and south. On examining the slopes of these hills and the broad ravines among them, a rich and deep soil was found to cover the whole, and the vegetation growing upon them bore a just relation to the character of the ground on which they flourished. Passing to the westward toward the valley it was found that the same character of soil continued to the first hills rising from the plain, these bearing an attitude of one hundred feet above its level. On reaching the summit of these hills, the rich, mellow soil to the east instantly gave out, and in its place a heavy, clayey covering was found upon the surface for a considerable distance into the valley ; this transition occurred within so

short a distance that I was led to examine more particularly the cause producing it, and accordingly followed the line of these lills until an outcrop of these rocks were found; they consisted of aluminous and chloritic slates, having a high inclination and dipping to the west; from their position they presented a perfect barrier to the passage of the richer soil of the hills passing on to the valley in any other junction than north and south. “As far as this line of slates extended, the valley beyond partook, in a greater or less degree, of the character that would be produced by their disinteration, and ill adapted generally to purposes of agriculture unless by artificial application of reclaiming agents and tillage. As soon as the slates began to disappear in the foothills, the character of the soil on the plain beyond assumed a different appearance, and a marked and corresponding change in its vegetable productions.

A mechanical impediment simply is the cause of unproductiveness in such cases, and in instances of this kind, the remedy usually abounds in abundant quantities and at short distances from the points where it may be required.

On the south-east shores of the Bay San Francisco, there are large areas of land that at the present time are considered useless for agricultural purposes, from their low position and semi-argilaceous character; they have often been denominated "mud flats,” and heretofore have been considered unadapted even to grazing for sheep. These flats generally extend toward the bay,) one or two miles from what are considered available and good agricultural lands.

Their general appearance to the passer-by is such as would not be likely to impress a person very strongly in their favor, as lands retaining much fertility, but from their superficial appearance would be regarded as a poor representation only of a salt meadow, productive of little else than the common samphire. But such is not the fact, and if experience and experiment have any value or weight, they will be thrown in the balance to the favor of those lands; experiments have been made during the past season on these sections, which cannot fail to convince us of the fact, that the opinions heretofore entertained respecting the available character of a large portion of these districts, are entirely

A single experiment illustrating their capacity for production if properly tilled, will be given.

Near Uniontown, in the County of Alameda, several acres of land, producing the samphire on their flats, was broken up and planted to corn; in one case it was sowed in drills; the corn continued to flourish until September which was the last time I saw it; and at this time the stalk of that in drills had acquired an average height of about nine feet. On the south side of the arroya Alameda another field was planted in hills, which was equal, if not superior in heigth. The soil when broken up, is rich and highly productive in other grains, notwithstanding the meagre appearance it presents prior to tillage, and will in a few years be as successfully and largely cultivated as any other of the valley sections. The saline lands of the interior sections are also of the same character, to a certain extent, and if properly tilled are equally productive. Near the rancho San Felipe, Santa Clara County, a similar circumstance was met with; the corn grown upon

these lands was being harvested in September and produced a full and well


formed ear, proving not only adaptation of soil, but climate--for the production of this staple in California. The latter case, the lands were 225 feet above the sea, and the field on every side except the south-east was covered with a thick growth of the salt grasses and other kindred plants (samphire) and when free from water the lands were covered with a saline incrustation.

Under a proper course of treatment these lands will be made available for the purposes of the agriculturist, and our already large domain of arable lands thus much increased. The situation of these lands in the interior is such, that they may be easily reclaimed should they ever fall within the jurisdiction of the State, which undoubtedly they will under the law regulating "saline lands.” In the counties of San Francisco, Santa Clara and Alameda the wet land that may be made available by drainage is about seventy square miles, exclusive of the “saline lands” at the southern part of the County of Santa Clara.

Most of the valley sections of this range of country is arable land, and that which is not can easily made so when required; the agents for bringing this about being found in the adjoining hills to the east. The character of the soil and climate adapts it to all the productions of temperate climates, and where local position modifies the climate of any section, it is found capable of producing plants of the tropical latitudes.

The extreme south-eastern part of this valley would be adapted to the growth of foreign fruits and other products, but it must be beyond the influence of the cold sea-wind that passes inland across the range of lower hills which divide the Salinas, Pajaro, and Santa Clara Val. leys, the effect of which would be to blight the fruit, though the plant or tree might continue to thrive.

The low hills that flank the east side of the valley contain all lhe elements required for the culture of tropical plants and fruits ; the climate and soil will be found adapted, and the only agent that appears in the least to be wanting is water sufficient to supply the demands of those plants. From the appearance of small lagoons and rivulets at different elevations it is presumable that a sufficient quantity of this agent may be found a short distance below the surface.

As a general rule the mountains lying upon the east border of the valley Santa Clara are covered with a soil superior to that of the plains, and of much greater depth. I have measured the depths of these soils in many places, and where it is well developed have found it varying from four to eleven feet for miles continuous; its extreme fertility produces heavy crops of the native grains and grasses which annually contribute to its increase by their decomposition.

Although these lands are situated within the reach of the sea-breeze from the Bay of San Francisco, they are protected from its cold by the slope of the hills and the modifications of its temperature acquired in its passage down the bay before reaching the northern portion of the valley. So much is the temperature increased that an addition of ten degrees is often required in its transit from San Francisco to the head of the valley, a distance little rising fifty miles. This increase of temperature in the air is accompanied with an increase in its capacity for moisture, hence it is usual to find a slight aqueous haze, which results from the condensation of its moisture, hanging about this en

tire range of hills during the summer months, and is usually seen carly in the morning.

At this time and for a short time after sun-rise the leaves of plants in these hills are covered with moisture, when no trace of this deposit is observable on the plains. The foreign horticulturist seems to have seized upon the natural advantages which these mountains present for the culture of the vine and other fruits, prefering these elevated situations to the lower plain lands, the climate and soil being more congenial to their growth. The altitude at which the first qualities of the grape will fiourish in these mountains (Monte Diablo Range) is seventeen hundred feet above the sea, the fruit produced equals tht grown in lower situations ; the temperature at this elevation through the night is higher than on the plains at their base, and sufficiently comfortable to sleep without shelter,

But a very few years will elapse before these “barren” mountains will yield a handsome income to the planter, and a large revenue to the Slate, from the taxable property that will be found in these mountains, arising from the production of the vine alone; some idea of the extent to which it is now being propagated may be obtained when it is stated that nearly two hundred thousand sets have been put into the ground during the past year, and on one ranch alone over twelve thousand new sets were placed in the ground last season, in addition to those already in bearing condition on the same farm.

The absence of timber in these mountains is one of the most serious objections to the settler, if this objection can be removed there is no reason to doubt but that large tracts of this fertile district would command a population that would soon approximate that on the plains. It would not be difficult to produce a forest growth of trees upon these mountains, one that would prove useful as well as ornamental, conducing to health, comfort and luxury, as well as profit. The history of the Guava furnishes us with some facts on this point that are well worthy of notice; the tree is of rapid growth, spreading itself over large districts in a very few years. In Mexico it attains a height of forty feet, and grows at elevations of five thousand feet; its wood is used for fuel and many other purposes, and from its fruit the guava jelly is manufactured, and forms an extensive article of commerce.

Fifty years ago this tree was introduced at the Sandwich and Society Islands; it has in that shurt period of time formed one of the principal forest trees of those islands, and reaches the summit of their highest hills. A tree of this kind introduced into our timberless hills would in a short time render the barren aspect they now present, more pleasing and profitable as well as useful." There can be but little doubt that this tree will flourish in this country, as it is found so to do in a climate equally cool as that in which it would be required here. Other varieties of fruit bearing trees of foreign climates will flourish in these mountains; among them may be mentioned the date, prune and fig, and in this country we possess an advantage in the preparation of the two latter fruits for the market, which is seldom found even in countries where they flourish best, viz: a clear, dry air, or containing but a small degree of moisture, a most essential requisite in forming a good commercial article. Often the entire fruit crop is ruined in the drying process in countries where these fruits abound, (and where all

conditions for their propagation are not more fully developed than in this country,) from the presence of too great a quantity of moisture in the air, a circumstance that cannot exist in this country south of the county of San Francisco.

Wo have the most ample proofs of the capabilities of our soils in the interior, in the production of the foreign fruits. In addition to the above, the olive and the almond flourish and produce plentifully, and though the latter is not indigenous, the luxuriance with which it grows and its plentiful production of fruit, must be received only as another evidence of the fact above stated. The value of these fruits as regards their quality, suffers no deterioration from having been naturalized to our Climate, but in the case of the latter named fruit, it is found to be materially benefitted by the change, for as it loses none of its flavor it becomes the more valuable from its increase of size, being nearly double that of the ordinary fruit of the market.

Respecting the main body of lands on the valley and shores of the bay, but very little of which is not adapted to agricultural purposes, it may be said to cover an area little short of six hundred square miles, nearly all of which is adapted to the cultivation of the cereals and root crops. The higher table of the valley produces excellent corn, and the season though dry permits this crop to mature well. I ob served several corn fields on the high terrace of the valley last sea. son, flourishing well at altitudes of three hundred and sixty to four hundred and ten feet, and in localities where it would hardly be supposed from its external appearance, that moisture sufficient to rear a blade of grass could be found. The cause of this productiveness in these localities, is in a great measure attributable to the existence of a small quantity of sulphate of lime in these apparently dry soils, derived from a limestone formation in these mountains, and which extends south beyond the Almaden district. The detritus of this rock is found mingled with fragments of other rocks containing ferruginous pyrites in a decomposing state, hence the key to its appearance in this locality, and in the case before it serves the purpose of an absorbent of moisture, thus materially facilitating the growth of crops in these sections.


The Universal Prime Mover.

We publish the following description of a new power at the request of the discoverer. We express no opinion respecting its merits, but are informed that scientific and practical individuals who have examined the model think favorably of the invention. It is obvious that if the views and calculations of the projector should be realized, he will occupy a place in the front rank of modern inventors.

We are informed that it will cost about five hundred dollars to make a working machine. Not possessing means to construct a complete model, Mr. Graham desires to find some enterprising individual who

« ZurückWeiter »