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Land utilization and working the fields


During the most intense expansion of tabacco cultivation, the end of the '800's and first decades of '
900's most of Valstagna's land was used to grow tabacco. At least 80% of the lower laying fields were cultivated, mostly tabacco, which could be grown as high as 500 m, on the terraces above San Gaeton, Col Ventidueore and Roncobello. The best land was used for this cash crop while portions of woodland and small parcels with less sun exposure, like in val Franzela or the area between Val Ccura e Val Tornà was used for less valuable products. Land utilization illustrates how man adapted the crops to physical charactistics and limitation of the land,incrementing the local economy while maintining edible crops, vines, timber and animal husbandry for survival.

Tools and human labor were all that was needed to work the fields. Steep slopes and small fields distributed here and there made it impracticald to use animals.
In the spring the dirt had to be turned over and prepared with spades. Manure, used for fertalizer, was brought to the fields on boards carried between parallel shafts, carried by two men or in jute bags on ones shoulders, weighing up to 40 kg.. It was hard work on steep trails, left mainly for the women to do.


“Now my son brought the plow, but first you have to turn the dirt with spades, this long with a pointed end, you turned the dirt, it was tiring, one thousand five hundred plants a day, a thousand meters of land” Giuseppe C. Valstagna 1999

 

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