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Strangers On Familiar SoilRediscovering the Chile-California Connection$
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Edward Dallam Melillo

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780300206623

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300206623.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM YALE SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.yale.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Yale University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in YSO for personal use.date: 06 May 2021

Supplementing the Soil

Supplementing the Soil

Chapter:
(p.92) 5 Supplementing the Soil
Source:
Strangers On Familiar Soil
Author(s):

Edward Dallam Melillo

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300206623.003.0005

This chapter describes efforts to improve the fertility of California's soils. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, nitrogen depletion in California's soils was a major concern. Farmers relied on two imports from Chile—nitrogen-rich Chilean alfalfa (Medicago sativa) and Chilean sodium nitrate (NaNO3)—to meet the nutrient demands of a continuously expanding agricultural system. Chilean alfalfa was indispensable to the emergence of Northern California's profitable dairy businesses, which made California into the nation's top milk butter, ice cream, and yogurt-producing state by the end of the twentieth century. Chilean sodium nitrate was essential to Southern California's prosperous citrus-fruit industry, which served as that region's primary engine of economic growth from the 1880s through World War II.

Keywords:   Northern California, Southern California, soil fertility, nitrogen depletion, Chile, alfalfa, sodium nitrate, dairy industry, citrus fruit industry

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