Historical agr- and hort-iculture in the U.S

Continuing the discussion from Mulberry: the king of tree fruits (for pigs):

For those of you interested in historical horticulture, there is a text-searchable library of all articles and books published by USDA researchers here: http://agricola.nal.usda.gov/

It is full of valuable information and also misinformation regarding taxinomic names – these can be updated by consulting the USDA GRIN Taxonomy for Plants.

One of the gems I found in the NAL library is the 1st report of the Department of Agricuture in 1863 by Isaac Newton (the U.S. guy, not the British guy).
Isaac_Newton_1st_Report.pdf (1.2 MB)


This was indeed very interesting. Did Kansas ever produce cotton as the commissioner thinks it will? I also found the cosigning of the report at the very end odd. It was signed:
His Excellency Abraham Lincoln President of the United States

Very, very interesting read…I love history and love history involving agriculture or growing plants in general.

I became aware of the NAL site about a decade ago while researching the introduction of neo-tropical fruits to the U.S. Here’s another gem I saved from that adventure - a 1899 Pomological Map of the U.S.

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That is one cool map! It sums up the different climate zones of the US very effectively.

It is a cool map, but there is now way these are accurate climate zone representations…certainly District 4 is waaaay off.

I like how this map is not just the hardiness zone information, it appears to be taking into account many aspects of climate unlike the USDA map. Humidity, late freezes, etc are something like these districts. So, in many ways its better than the USDA map.