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the midrib. Then the leaves are pulled together in the middle of the string, with which they are tied into bundles and delivered to the buyer's warehouse, the asserting having been done at the time the leaves were strung.
The so-called "fermentation house" of the Owl Cigar Company, at Quincy, Florida, is thus described for this work by Dr. E. H. Jenkins, Ph. D., vice director Connecticut.experiment station: "This house is perfectly equipped for its purpose, and in all its arrangements and the conduct of the operations, is a model of absolute neatness, order and good management. The rooms where the tobacco is handled over in any way are steam heated, so that the temperature can be kept at the desired point night and day. Without noting the thermometer, I should say that none of them were below 75° F., and the air is kept very moist with escaping steam. Tobacco lies loosely on the tables, without drying out at all. The tobacco is 'bulked' immediately upon its receipt for fermentation. The aim is to 'cook it in its own juice,' and no blowing or dampening of the leaf is allowed. This is regarded as vital to success. A 'bulk' is made by covering the floor with trash tobacco, fermented cuttings, etc., about six to eight inches deep. Uprights, to which boards can be tacked as the bulk is built up, hold it in place. On this trash tobacco, the leaves are laid, tied in hands. Trash tobacco is also laid next the side boards. The bulks which we saw were from five to six feet, or more, high, and when made are covered with trash tobacco and blankets. The temperature of the pile rises rapidly and sometimes will reach 180° F., in the center. When the expert judges it necessary,—in extreme cases, within twenty-four hours after the bulk is built,—it is all handled over and built again close by. The leaves which wero in the middle of the first bulk are put on the outside of the second. The aim is not only to make the fermentation even for all the tobacco, but each hand is shaken out, as, otherwise, the leaves will stick together and be uneven in color, and it may be impossible to pull them apart without tearing. It may be necessary to repeat this turning of the bulks six or eight times before the process is complete. Often two bulks are mixed, if one is rather too damp and the other too dry. When the fermentation is done, the leaves are very carefully sorted as to both size and color, are tied into hands, these put in carottes and baled to 'age' for one or two years. They are first put into a warm room to cool down and finally into a cooler storage. While this process of fermentation is much more expensive than that of fermenting in the case, it has the great advantage that the time required is much less, and the whole process can be watched and controlled, whereas, when sweated in the case, there is absolutely no supervision or control possible."
Both spring and fall planting, in most parts of Florida, have advantages and disadvantages, but it is probable that the fall planting will become quite as general as spring setting. Fall tobacco in Florida will be in no more danger from frost than is the spring crop at the North, while the fall crop escapes grass and weeds, grasshoppers, and most of the worms and other pests. Only about one-fourth as much rainfall is needed for the crop in October, November and December, as during April, May and June. It is believed, also, that this late crop will average in quality superior to the spring crop, especially for fillers, as is the case in Cuba.
The best soil for this crop in Florida, Col. Moodie finds, after studying experiments in all parts of the State, to be a light, sandy loam, well drained, fine and friable, with no crude limestone cropping out, and particularly should it be free from loose arenaceous or socalled "rotten" limestone, common in many parts of northern, central and western Florida, where fossilized organic remains and phosphates are found. The tobacco field should be near a body or stream of fresh water, to insure humidity from the constant evaporation. In Gadsden county, where tobacco is extensively grown, the soils used are fine, light and sandy on the surface, but resting on a clayey sand at a depth of ten inches to two feet, which is quite moist, and at the same time readily permeable by water. In heavy rains, the water is quickly taken up from the surface, yet in very dry weather, the soil is damp at a depth of a few inches.
Opinions differ as to the proper manuring of soils of this character for tobacco. Moodie's advice is to make no application of stable or barnyard manures, except a light dressing of well-rotted manure on sterile soils, to impregnate them with the bacteria of nitrification. On the Gadsden extensive plantations, cottonseed meal is the only fertilizer used. The cautions in the use of manures and fertilizers that are stated in Chapter VI must all be observed, but much has yet to be learned about their application in the semi-tropics. Moodie maintains that the double manure salt (sulphate of potash and magnesia) is even preferable to the high grade sulphate of potash under Florida conditions.
Southern Florida, much nearer the tropics than the northern part of the State, is also coming to the front in tobacco culture. It has much the same climate and soil as Cuba, and has naturally attracted the attention of those driven out of Cuba by the war. The first plantation to be established was that at Fort Meade, Polk county, by the Cuban Tobacco Growers' Co., limited, incorporated in January, 1896, with a capital of $150,000. Its officers, with one exception, are Cubans, and the president and general manager have had long experience in growing and handling tobacco in that island. Dr. E. H. Jenkins contributes to this work the follow