It was the morning after the wolf tribe became residents of the town.
On that day, I, who usually idled around and indulged in my slumber leisurely, woke up from the sound of the digital clock on the table.
After waking up early, the first thing I had to do was to prepare breakfast for the tribesmen. Since it would be troublesome if they learned of luxury, I provided the same menu as yesterday’s lunch and dinner.
Before long, the preparation of the meal was done, so I told the chief to gather everyone in front of the gate. Still, it’s troublesome to have to call for him each time. In the future, I might connect a telephone line to the chief’s house so that I wouldn’t need to visit him for each task every time.
After a while, they finally gathered, and breakfast began at last. Everyone didn’t complain about having the same meal as yesterday. They all ate with great relish.
They rested for a while after eating breakfast.
Afterwards, I delivered kitchen utensils such as pots and kettles, firewood and firestones, as well as food like rice, and the instructions on how to cook them.
However, I wasn’t well versed in cooking by the old methods, thus, I could only tell them the amount of water needed to cook the rice at best. I hoped for them to polish their cooking skills through their own experience afterwards.
When all of that was over, I delivered a changes of clothes, and explained about the Goemon bathtubs while preparing hot water in front of them. They haven’t taken a single bath since they’ve arrived here, so they stank badly. After the explanation, I directed them to take a bath. That was all for the morning.
In the afternoon, I asked the chief to direct them to pull out the wild grass that grows throughout the town. I also told them to pile up all of the collected grass in front of my house. The grass was Catherine’s important feed after all.
Meanwhile, I had also planned to check the soil quality of this land’s agricultural fields.
This time, I’m using this.
[Soil Acidity Examination Solution] 60,000 yen (List price 600 yen)
First, I placed the soil that has been brought from outside into the glass, poured in the modern [Tap-water], and stirred it. While waiting for the soil particles to sink to the bottom of the glass, I took out the clear water from the upper part of the glass, and moved it into a test tube. Finally, I added the examination solution into the test tube, and shook it. I would then judge the acidity level by its color.
“...As expected, it’s slightly alkaline.” I muttered like a professional while looking at the color from the test tube. But, in my hands was a book titled [First Time Agriculture that even Idiots can do!].
The soil of this land was of a chestnut color like the ones found in the desert. Back in my previous world, black soil (chernozem and prairie soil) was considered the most suitable soil medium for agricultural land.
Because this place is a desert, the necessary nutrition for the crops won’t be washed away by rain, and would remain on the soil.
But, there was a problem. The soil was alkaline, and there isn’t much crops that could grow in alkaline soil.
Well then, what would I need to do to make the crops grow in the alkaline soil?
The idea that flashed into my mind was to mix the soil with acidic fertilizer and neutralize the alkalinity. It was well known that people used quicklime, an alkaline fertilizer, to handle acidic soil. In this case, it should be possible to do the reverse
However, though the book mentioned the ways to turn acidic soil alkaline, the way to turn alkaline soil acidic wasn’t written. I couldn’t have known whether my assumptions would do the trick. I wondered why hadn’t the book remarked on the problem. I couldn’t help but come up with the foolish idea of Japan only having acidic soil.
Therefore, I summoned [Town Data].
“Hmm...” I hummed.
As I was looking at the [Fertilizer] category, I discovered one which costs 0 yen.
[Humus] 0 yen.
Alright, let’s buy it.
I left my house once I purchased the [Humus].
The humus appeared on top of the brown coloured soil. I often see this in forests; the black soil made from decaying trees, plants and leaves.
I took a sample of the black soil, and went to check its acidity like before.
“Oh, it’s slight acidic...” I mumbled in surprise.
Was it because it’s japanese soil, or was it because of the humus that it became acidic? Ah, it doesn’t matter.
I pressed the purchase button for the [Humus] repeatedly, and placed the purchased items outside of the town. At the back of my home, a small hill of black humus was formed.
Now then, the matter regarding the acidity of the soil was settled. Next, I need brainstorm for solutions for another problem.
Arid lands mean that it is a land without rain. In other words, this was an area without water. Without water, the crops won’t grow. It’s basic knowledge. So, to sum it up, what should I do to get water into this dryland? This would be my next problem.
However, I didn’t need to think much about this problem. We could draw water from the river to the east and use it for irrigating the crops.
I have thought about using groundwater, but it would troublesome if the groundwater dried up since a large amount of water would be needed for the fields. Before I came to this world, the state of California in America depended on the groundwater too much, to the point they exhausted the groundwater as it didn’t rain at all, and caused a severe drought. I remembered that it was a terrible state where the earth dried up and collapsed.
I will not make the same mistake as them.
Considering that there is a great river that flows from the north, I should be utilizing it well.
...Anyone could think of it up till here. However, I encountered one problem when I read the book, which was the damage from salt water. In dry lands, there’s a natural phenomenon which causes salt to accumulate. Because the usage of water in dry lands would carry salt from underground and accumulate it on the surface of the soil, the salt would obstruct the growth of the crops.
The mechanism is as follows. As the water is distributed, the dry soil would absorb the water easily. The water would then penetrate deep into the ground, and absorb the mineral salts. Due to the high soil temperature, the water will once again evaporate in the direction of the soil’s surface, leaving a layer of dried mineral salts on the surface of the soil.
That was pretty much the gist of the problem.
There was a lot of talk about future food problems back in my original world. This problem was mainly caused by the shortage of land usable for agriculture due to the accumulation of mineral salts on the soil’s surface, and also the increment of the human population.
As a countermeasure to the issue, it is important to minimize the water’s seepage into the soil as much as possible, leaving only drip irrigation, where water is given to the plants at pin-point accuracy. This method is certainly wonderful, but the spending for this would be tremendous.
In any case, it would mean that a faucet was to be made for each and every crop planted. Just imagining it was already out of the question .
The other preventative measure was to make the plantation field a paddy field. With the equipment of the water supply and drainage system, it would prevent the salt from accumulating.
On the other hand, this method, again, needs to use lot of water to wash off the salt. Originally, a large quantity of water was already needed to wash the salt away, so this will cost a lot of money. But, fortunately, I could purchase water for free. I would only need to fix the topography to drain the water afterwards. However, I will then need to show my ability to other people.
As expected, it is important to practice an agricultural method that requires a controlled amount of water as much as possible. In other words, I need to produce crops that don’t need a lot of water.
[TL: you see how much problem that a farmer need to face when they bring fruit, veggie and stuff to your table? Stop wasting food!]
[ED: Yes, mother.]
Next, what are crops that are strong against drought? There are staple food like grains, corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and beans. For vegetables, there are tomatoes, eggplants, and green peppers. For fruit trees, there are dates and grapes. I think that’s about it....
I looked at the commodities in [Town Data], and there were all the names for those seedlings. Of course, when there are varieties of seeds enhanced by hybridization (adjustments of the seed within a single life-time generation, leading higher quality crops compared to using pure-bred seeds. However, in the second generation and after, the effects of the adjusted DNA will disappear, and the crop yield will no longer be uniform), there are also pure breed varieties (throughout the second and third and its consecutive growth generations, crop yield will be uniform).
Now then, all of these were just the outline related to agriculture. We will start plowing the fields and sowing the seeds tomorrow.
Since I have to consider crop rotations as well, I wonder what should be planted next. Oh yeah, shall we plant the twenty day radish too, so that the people will be able to experience the joy of harvesting?
Ah, that’s right. I will also need to divide the fields too. The standard size for one field during the Edo era was... Around one thousand square metres. Certainly, the people of the Edo period harvested the amount of rice they would consume in one year, so the size of the field that would yield that amount should be considered one unit of field.
Well, I don’t plan to plant rice for now, so it doesn’t really matter. It would be good as a reference for a standard field though.
I purchased a [Measuring Tape] and a [Wooden Stake], and surveyed the land alone. Afterwards, the tribesmen who have finished weeding the town proceeded to weed the area where I had surveyed.
...The town has started to progress slowly.