country crop grown sown
AGRICULTUE.E. - In most parts of the country there are two harvests, as generally in India. One of these, called by the Afghans Lahcirak, or the spring crop, is sown in the end of autumn, and reaped in summer. It consists of wheat, barley, and a variety of lentils. The oilier, called voizah or tirmai, the, autumnal, is sown in the end of spring, and reaped in autumn. It consists of rice, varieties of millet and sorghum, of maize, Phaseolits illungo, tobacco, beet, turnips, &c. The loftier regions have but one harWheat is the staple food over the greater part of the country. Ince is largely distributed, but is most abundant in Swat (independent), and best in Peshawar (British). It is also the chief crop in Kurram. In lunch of the eastern mountainous country lAjra (Micas spicattis) is the chief grain. Most English and Indian garden-stuffs arc cultivated; turnips in some places very- largely, as cattle food.
The growth of melons, water-melons, and other cucurbitaceous plants is reckoned very important, especially near towns ; and this crop counts for a distinct harvest.
Sugar-cane is grown only in the rich plains; and though cotton is grown in the warmer tracts, most of the cotton cloth is imported.
Madder is an important item of the spring crop in Ghazni and Kandahar districts, and generally over the west, and supplies the Indian demand. It is said to be-very profitable, though it takes three years to mature.
Saffron is grown and exported. The castor-oil plant is everywhere common, and furnishes most of the oil of the country. Tobacco is grown very generally ; that of Kandahar has much repute, and is exported to India and Bokhara. Two crops of leaves are taken.
Lucerne and a trefoil called shaftal form important fodder crops in the western parts of the country, and, when irrigated, are said to hflord ten or eleven cuttings in the season. The komal (Pianos pabularia) is abundant in the hill country of Ghazni, and is said to extend through the Hazara country to Herat. It is stored for winter use, and forms an excellent fodder. Others are derived from the Holcus sorghum, and from two kinds of panick. It is common to cut down the green wheat and barley before the ear forms, for fodder, and the repetition of this, with barley at least, is said not to injure the grain crop. Bellew gives the following statement of the manner in which the soil is sometimes worked in the Kandahar district: - Barley is sown in November ; in March and April it is twice cut for fodder ; in June the grain is reaped, the ground is ploughed and manured, and sown with tobacco, which yields two cuttings. The ground is then prepared for carrots and turnips, which are gathered in November or December.
Of great moment are the fruit crops. All European fruits are produced profusely, in many varieties, and of excellent quality. Fresh or preserved, they form a principal food of a large class of the people, and the dry fruit is largely exported. In the valleys of Kabul, mulberries are dried, and packed in skins for winter use. This mulberry cake is often reduced to flour, and used as such, forming in sonic valleys the main food of the people.
Grapes are grown very extensively, and the varieties are very numerous. The vines are sometimes trained on trellises, but most frequently over ridges of earth S or 10 feet high. The principal part of the garden hinds in villages round Kandahar is vineyard, and the produce must he enormous.
Open canals are usual in the Kabul valley, and in eastern Afghanistan generally ; but over all the western parts of the country much use is made of the harez, which is a subterranean aqueduct uniting the waters of several springs, and conducting their combined volume to the surface at a lower level. Elphinstone had heard of such conduits 36 miles in length.
AxImAr. KINGDOM - As regards vertebrate zoology, Afghanistan lies on the frontier of three regions, viz., the Eurasian, the Ethiopian (to which region Biluchestan seems to belong), and the Indo-.21falayan. Hence it naturally partakes somewhat of the forms of each, but is in the main Eurasian.