Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/479

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

light and day heat protracted far into the normal hours of night—and a comparison of these conditions with somewhat similar conditions prevailing elsewhere, have given hope not alone of a possibility, but of a probability, and there are few to-day who doubt that agriculture may not be practiced with at least a legitimate amount of success in many parts of the Yukon basin. This probability has, indeed, been already emphasized by Prof. George Dawson, and the more recent examinations of Alaskan territory, made by Colonels Ray and Abercrombie, confirm with a conviction the reference to American soil. The feeble but more than promising efforts in agriculture and gardening that were made in the region about Dawson in 1898 have borne surprising fruit in 1899, and while the results may not, for various reasons, have proved in all cases remunerative to the "prospector," they at least clearly demonstrate the possibilities to which the future may lay claim. Cabbages, turnips, peas, radishes, lettuce, and beans are now raised to perfection in favored spots along the Yukon and Klondike, and on scattered hillsides of the Bonanza and Eldorado, and a good promise is also held out for the potato. In the charming spot known as the Acklin Garden, situated on the Klondike about two miles from Dawson, oats and barley, sown on April 26th and May 22d respectively (1899), were grown to beautiful heads, and harvested in the middle of August. No wheat had ripened up to that time, and I suspect that, owing to a light frost which took place on the 19th of the same month, none of this grain came to maturity. Radishes sown on April 24th were collected on May 20th, and string beans, whose seed was scattered on May 26th, were collected on August 1st. Other successful crops were those of beets, onions, and spinach.

The exquisite beauty of the flower garden in this spot rivets the attention of all passers-by, and few there are who do not for a moment lay aside their packs to enjoy the feast of color that is presented to them. Poppies of the size and brilliance of those which adorn the fields about Naples, chrysanthemums, gorgeous dahlias, pansies, the cornflower, mignonette, and centaurea are part of the outside bloom, to which Nature "beyond the fence" has fittingly added the wild rose, anemone, fireweed, and forget-me-not. Such is the aspect of the region which to-day illumines the far North, and carries with itself a hopeful promise to many and the certainty of disappointment to many more.