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AGRICULTURAL DEPARTMENT.

Culture of the Banana in Florida.

It is remarkable how little value is placed on the climate and producing capacities of Florida by the American people. They are anxious to acquire Cuba at almost any sacrifice, while they neglect to develop and improve the resources of Florida which are in many respects similar and not less valuable than those of Cuba.

Hitherto many causes have conspired to retard the settlement and cultivation of this land of flowers and fruits ; some of these causes, and perhaps the most potent, have been overcome, but not until Florida is made accessable to every part of the United States by means of railways. Will her resources be developed or the nation enjoy the luxuries which she is capable of producing ? We copy the following account of the culture of the Banana from the An. cient City.

THE BANANA.--In the culture and production of this nutricious fruit, all that is necessary for its propagation, is a moist alluvial soil beyond the reach of severe frosts. Hence, that portion of our State, known as South Florida, is well adapted to its cultivation.

In preparing the soil, great care should be taken to extract all roots, and other matter which may engender the woodlouse, as that insect has been known to destroy the plant, when first set out. Let the plow run deep, as the small fibrous roots require constant moisture until the plant is firmly attached to the earth, after this they only require a slight dressing with the hoe, until the fruit is

matured.

This fruit is raised by transplanting the shoots or suckers, emanating from the root of the parent stem, and set firmly in the earth about four feet each way; watering them a few times, insures their growing rapidly, unless injured in taking them up, which should be done with a sharp spade or knife, keeping as much of the soil attached to the root as possible. This will secure the sucker against almost any danger, for after it has fairly commenced growing, neither excessive rains or long droughts will ma; terially affect them.

The BANANA in Mexico, Central and South America, is to the inhabitants, what the cereal grasses--corn, wheat, rye and barley -are to Northern States, Western Asia and Europe, and what the numerous varieties of rice are to the natives of India and China. The space favorable to the cultivation of this valuable plant in South Florida, does not, perbaps, exceed 15,000 square miles:including all the Keys, bordering on that portion of our Peninsula, together, with a small portion of Texas, near the Rio Grande.

At Key West, Miama, Old Tampa, &c., we have seen bunches, that in our opinion, would weigh from 75 to 100 lbs., and the fruit occasionally exceed 6 inches in circumference, with a length of 6 or 7, containing from 75 to 90 of the fruit. These bunches, bowever, would not do for a general average, a deduction of 1-4 would be a fair and probable estimate.

Baron Humboldt, à celebrated traveller, while in Mexico, exam ined this valuable plant with great interest. He doubts whethe there is any other plant on the globe which, in so small a space o ground, can produce so great a mass of nutriment. Nine or ten months after the sucker has been inserted in the earth the banana begins to form its clusters, and the fruit may be gathered in lesthan a year. When the fruit is taken off, the stalk should be cut down, and there is always found among the numerous shoots which have put forth roots one that will bear three or four months later. Hence a plantation is perpetuated without any other care than tha of cutting the stems on which the fruit has ripened, and giving the earth a slight dressing. An acre of land may contain at leass 1,100 plants, which, in the space of one year, at a very moderate calculation, will yield more than 55,000 ibs. avoirdupoise of nutritive substance -- thrice the quantity of food over any known in the vegetable kingdom.

Let us now examine this plant in a lucrative view, and compare it with any of our soils' productions. An acre, as we before stated, will contain at least 1,100 plants, these will average $1 each, and many will double it, in almost any market; thus making an acre of land produce more real profit than any other production, with little or no labor. Humboldt estimates, that the produce of banana from the same quantity of land, is to that of wheat as 133 :1, and to that of potatoes as 44:1--and he further states that the game extent of ground in Mexico, on which the banama is raised, is capable of maintaining fifty individuals, whereas in Europe under wheat it would not furnish subsistence for two.

In South America numerous preparations are made of this fruit, both before and after its maturity. Before they are matured it is - usually baked or fried, or cutinto thin slices and dried in the sun,

when well pounded make meal or four, and is a very wholesome article of food. When fully ripe, it is exposed to the sun and preserved like figs, and will without doubt, in time, form a large article of commerce in South Florida.

In the cultivation of this plant for market, it is important that your location should be on navigable streams, as land carriage greatly injures and breaks off the fruit; thus the entire southern coast, including all its rivers and strear08, are well adapted to its culture.

While on a visit to Fort Myres, Carloosahatchee River, a few months since, [Dec. last] we were surprised at its culturebeauty of its plant, and the different stages of its fruit. Some were in

blossom, while others with delicate tendrils in appearance, to the full developed and well matured fruit-propagated with little or no labor, save that of inserting them in the earth. The grass plats, or yards attached to the various quarters, being filled with them, in the most thrifty condition. Hence that river is destined to become an important point to attract the lover of the Banana. The various keys in Charloote llarbor (where not too much exposed to wind, will be found suitable for its culture.

Will our citizens in town, who having a small yard to spare, make an attempt to cultivate it — some few have already commenced with a few plants, and they have been re-paid a hundredfold for their labor. Ve hope they will.--- Tampa Herald.

From the American Agriculturist.
Cultivation of Taste.

000, often loopt to read ie peculiar facilined and

It is to be feared that many of even the more enligthened class of citizens, have too little appreciation of the refined and beautyful in nature. Farmers who enjoy peculiar facilities for studying nature, and who ought to read her intelligible forms with peculiar profit, too often look on foresan and meadows as valuable only to furnish food for cattle, and fuel for fire. Nor is it strange. They who have to grapple with necessities, come naturally to think those things only useful, which minister to their bodily wants. We were well acquainted with a gentleman who among cattle, or in the field, had an admirable taste, but who was quite indifferent to the beauties of a flower-garden. We used to take him into the garden and pluck some choice flower with “See here, isn't this a beautiful thing;” but he always smiled and said, “What do you think I care about it, I had just a lief look at a dandelion;" and away he would go looking at the cucumber-vines. Now he had not so much an unnatural as an uncultivated taste. For the rich plumage and graceful flight of birds he had an excellent eye, and could listen to their notes with extreme pleasure; but he looked on ornamental shrubs and flowers as equally superfluous and useless. Like many others, he much preferred to see the ground adorned with ornamental beets and cabbages. · But it is a wrong opinion to suppose the excellence of things lies only in their utility. The Creator, it is evident, had something else in view when he made the world ; nay, even loves beauty for itself alone. Else, why the delicate and varied hues of innumerable insects that float in the air; or why the beautyful or. ganic structure of mosses and see-weeds ; or the systematic orrangement of chemical atoms? These are invisible to us except through the microscope, but they are perfectly apparent to nicer perceptions, and no doubt, administer delight.

But if farmers take delight only in building fences, and plowing fields, and rearing cattle, this, they should remember, can afford but little pleasure to their wives. Their appropriate sphere of action is, or ought to be, about the house. It matters little with them, whether their husband's farms be enclosed with a stone fence or hedge, whether it be stgeked with Devons or Short-horns, but it does matter greatly whether the flower-garden be set off with tulips or twitch-grass. Her nice and delicate nature must have smooth lawns and handsome trees, and laughing flowers. Such things delight her more than all the improved cattle in Christendom. But if everytime she looks from her window, her eye falls on piles of brush, and ugly burdocks, and aspiring pig-weeds, what wonder that she takes more delight at her neighbor's house than at home. The truth is, her tastes, if reasonable, should be gratified. A neglected garden is just as repugnant to her nature, as a neglected farm to that of the husband. How often have we seen farmers' wives digging up a little spot of ground with a case-knife, because their husbands had no time to prepare it for them, or thought it useless. An hours' labor would have been, perhaps, all that she needed, and might have been the source o how much pleasure. It might take a little time, and might not add a dollar to the purse; but it will bring what gold can never doma strong attachment and pure love between husband and wife. It constitutes the soil in which grow the finer sensibilities.

Cold and selfish natures may laugh at these thing, but we pity that man who can range God's heritage from year to year, and think of nothing but granaries and grain. There is in waving fields a higher significance than mere grain. Grasping, miserly eyes may not see it, but it is there; and to those of high thoughts and pure conceptions, it speaks in the most forcible and eloquent language. No, if we have a shadow of skepticism, we would sooner take one stroll across the fields, and over the bills, than read volumes of books.

There is something in the dancing air, and bending grass, and waving woods, that ought to scatter doubt, like chaff, to the four winds. And farmers are just the men to study and appreciate these things. Alone from the beauties of nature, what lesson might they not learn from her spiritual teachings. How many things there are to subdue pride, to restrain melancholy, to cherish reverence, to inspire love! Truth, and beauty, and humility, and joy, beam as visible from every plant and flower as stars in mid-heaven, not dim nor speechless, but clear and eloquent as language and pencil can make them.

If farmers would only study these thing, they would find them imparting an ease and refinement to the mind which lends a charm to every thing, and without which the best natures are rough and untutored.

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