Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 91.djvu/347

This page needs to be proofread.


The Trench Farms of the Philippines

��Notwithstanding the fact that rice grows best in valleys where the soil is rich and where it is kept flooded almost continuously until the grain matures, the Filipinos, who are as dependent upon rice as are the Japanese and Chinese, have succeeded in growing it upon mountainsides. There is of course a variety called "upland rice," which requires less water than that grown in the valleys, but even this is grown in marshy soil, kept wet by a trench system which holds back the rain and the irrigating streams preventing the water from flowing down the mountain and holding it in grooves in which the rice is planted. Huge water buffaloes are used to drag the plows and harrows through the mud. Sometimes these animals are blindfolded and made to turn wheels which elevate the water from the streams to the trench-fields. After the rice sprouts are set out, the water must be let off from time to time to permit weeding and cultivation, but it never destroys the ledges

���331

�� �