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The author of this article lives at Lakeport, Cal. While his conditions will not fit with those of most farmers it is possible for nearly every one to get soma hints from the success of another. The readers of the Leader are now so widely scattered over the entire con tinent that it is our purpose to present articles dealing with as many different farming conditions as possible. BT C. CHAPMAN TOMSK OR 10 years I have been getting a little over $500 per acre in garden crops on a piece of bench land so poor that it had never quite yielded the seed. The tract is on a bluff about 75 feet above the bottom land. It slopes southeast and is a sandy loam mixed with coarse gravel, underlaid with gravel and boulders at a depth of four to ten feet. The great drawback to this piece was it leaked moisture like a sieve and my crops either dried out or burned up. The remainder of my farm is low, rich bottom land and I sometimes lost my early vegetables by late frosts. My poor bench land warmed up earlier and could be worked and planted fully three weeks earlier than the lowlands, and in all the years I have planted it to tender vegetables I have had to. replant but once. My first successful crop was the following: Sweet Corn—Early Cory. Tomatoes—Earliana, First of All, Coe's Early. Peppers—Neapolitan. I drilled in my sweet corn so early that my neigh bors thought me crazy. Though it was a late spring I planted tomatoes three weeks ahead of any that had been set out in this community. That bench land, with all its drawbacks, had one invaluable feature—its earliness. I was willing to risk seed, labor and plants to beat the drawbacks —and I won. That first season I had a big "scoop" on the early corn, tomato and pepper market, beat ing the neighborhood by more than three weeks. After the first load, I sold to peddlers^ who came to the place for the vegetables. I received the first week 28 cents per dozen for my peppers, 25 cents per dozen for corn, and 22 cents per pound for tomatoes. At the end of three weeks my corn was all sold, but tomatoes and peppers were selling at 4 cents and 2 cents per pound, respectively. I quit selling from this tract when the price dropped below these figures. When the returns were all count ed I could scarcely be lieve my eyes—$500 an acre from waste land! During the last two years I have been get ting even better re turns. My success is still founded on the earliness of the tract, and I have learned many little kinks for in creasing earliness. I have developed a good system of packing and handling my crops. 1 have also learned the most valuable of all lessons—that an honest and uniform pack is "first aid" to selling on a glutted market. USES NORTHERN GROWN SEEDS I secure earliness by using northern-grown seeds, by planting at the earliest possible moment, and by raising my own plants of va rieties best suited to my soil. Earliana is my favorite so far. My method of handling and raising my plants is one of the secrets of my success. I set no plant that is not stocky, tough and hardened to From Minus Zero to $500 Per Acre A California Farmer's Experience in Successful Truck Farming on Abandoned Bench Land The fact that one man is able to make returns of $500 an acre by personal ex ertions is no indication that this can be done generally. If all farmers took to growing- garden truck the story of their experience would be "From $500 Per Acre to Minus Zero." Mr. Tomek's case is frankly an exceptional one and is quoted as such. Individual farmers may gain valuable suggestions from such experiences, but for the great bulk of the farming population fundamental reforms are necessary before farming can be put on a sure and safe business basis. The individual farmer must con stantly strive to be a better farmed, but in addition there must be collective action, in co-operative enterprises and in the political field, to better mar keting and credit conditions. a rather low temperature. I also require plants that have a mass of short, fibrous roots. Drawn or sappy plants get badly checked in transplanting and do not set fruit so early. I start my tomato plants as early as the second week in January, as 1 do not wish any rapid growth. I sow seeds in rich loam in a hotbed and trans plant the first time when the second leaves begin to show. In transplanting I do not loosen the soil. I pull the seeding gently up. If the roots did not break short I nip to one inch in length, setting them two inches apart each way. When the tops meet I transplant again, this time to cold frames, giving more space. My plants are always transplanted three or four times before planting in the field. These frequent transplant ings dwarf and harden the seedlings, causing them to make many little fibrous roots. These roots start little feeding branchlets a few hours after transplanting. When the time comes to trans GOOD HAND TOOLS MEAN BETTER GARDENS mm mi Making hand work easier means more home gardening, both in the city and on the farm. A. F. Yeager of the North Dakota Agricultural college declares that many farmers might find a wheel hoe better on closely spaced rows than a horse-drawn cultivator. Especially is this true with crops like radishes, lettuce, peas and onions. The hand cultivator also can be used to good effect with close set cabbage, sweet corn and tomatoes.' PAGE FIVE' plant to the field, seedlings given this treatment suffer little shock and soon commence to grow. As I set out in the field at the earliest moment when the ground is but slightly warm, my plants must stand quite a low temperature at times. I have prepared them for this by giving fresh air in increasing doses. The last 10 days in the cold frame they are strong enough to go uncovered at night and not check their growth. This cold hard ening of my plants has enabled me to plant fully a week earlier than I could if I were buying the best plants on the market. Get the tomato seed ling once hardened and it will grow cheerily and set fruit, while the sappy plants are hanging their heads undecided whether to live or die. It takes a little judgment to harden plants successfully, but any mature person can get the knack from expe rience better than from precept. WHEN GROUND STARTS TO WARM PLANTING IS RUSHED My big money comes from earliness, so I bend all my energy to that end. I have an early plat of ground but I do not depend on that. I take good care to have my ground ready and my plants ready a week before my usual time for setting out, for it is highly important that the plants are set in the field at the earliest possible moment. This moment is when the ground is a little warm. I usually test the ground heat by scratching off about an inch of the surface soil and testing 6y placing my hand on the soil. It must feel distinctly warmer than the surface soil, and feel a trifle warm to my fin-?™ gers. The time to make the test is in the early' morning by 7 or 7:30 at the latest. Test in several different parts of the field. Once satisfied that the ground is warming—I usually make the test on two or three successive days—rush the planting all you possibly can. Here is one of the milestones where you gain or lose dollars. Do not hold back planting because you fear frosts. The years it does not come will pay for an occasional replanting. Take note and remember to raise a reserve supply of plants if not needed they can be sold. Care in planting is important. The plant must be set so firmly it can not be pulled out without breaking. The soil must press firmly against the roots—leave no air spaces or the roots which have been so carefully nurtured will wither and the plant will be too slow in starting. My system of plant raising is the outgrowth of my desire to get the best plants ready to grow at the earliest possible mo ment. Anything that checks growth after setting in the field de feats this object. There fore the greatest care should be used to keep the roots from drying out. Plants for early crops should be han dled with extra care as they must be checked in growth when trans planted to the field. Very little care is needed after setting in the field—just keeping weeds dbwn and mois ture in. I set tomatoes closer together in poor, sandy soil close enough to keep the ground shaded when the plants are mature. It keeps- the fruit from sunburning. The exact distance depends on va riety and soil. I usual ly set plants on bench lsuid about three by three feet for the early varieties mentioned.