Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/505

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491
WHERE BANANAS GROW.

the plantlets, now perhaps two feet long, are called "sets," and it is these which, taken from a vigorous plantation, are used for establishing a new one.

Although they will do fairly well in the climate of Jamaica in a great variety of soils, the best land for bananas is the deep, rich, and moist alluvium of the river valleys. Here plants and fruit reach their perfection, and the largest returns reward the least labor. In short, the very lands which were the basis of Jamaica's wealth in the old days of sugar and rum and slavery, and which, during the years of her decadence, have lain waste

PSM V44 D505 Native hillside homes surrounded by bananas.jpg
Fig. 2.—Native Hillside Homes surrounded by Bananas.

and "in ruinate," are destined again to give her a substantial prosperity in the new days of the banana and the cocoanut and freedom. And we may hope that this prosperity will be more real and more permanent than the former, because founded on principles of personal liberty and righteous dealing, and without the accompaniment of the semi-barbarous luxury and the wholly barbarous license that cursed the former time.

It is but a few years since the crumbling evidences of the material prosperity of the rule of sugar and rum were to be seen on every hand. Magnificent estates, teeming with a tropical luxuri-