A Description of New Netherlands
Adriaen van der Donck - 1649
OF THE MANNERS AND PECULIAR CUSTOMS OF, THE NATIVES OF THE NEW-NETHERLANDS
Of their Agriculture, Planting, and Gardening.
All of their agriculture is performed by the women. The men give themselves very little trouble about the same, except those who were old. They, with the young children will do some labor under the direction of the women. They cultivate no wheat, oats, barley or rye, and know nothing of ploughing, spading and spitting up the soil, and are not neat and cleanly in their fields. The grain which they raise for bread, and mush or sapaen, is maize or turkey-corn, and they raise various kinds of beans as before remarked. They also plant tobacco for their own use, which is not as good as ours, and of a different kind, that does not require as much labour and attendance. Of garden vegetables, they raise none, except pumpkins and squashes, as before observed. They usually leave their fields and garden spots open, unenclosed, and unprotected by fencing, and take very little care of the same, though they raise an abundance of corn and beans, of which we obtain whole cargoes in sloops galleys in trade.
Of manuring and proper tillage they know nothing. All their tillage is done by the hand and with small adzes, which they from us. Although little can be said in favour of their husbandry still they prefer their practice to ours, because our methods require too much labour and care to please them, which they are not well satisfied.
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