Grow cane flowers

Sugar cane, its cultivation and processing

[563]
Sugar cane, its cultivation and processing.
The occurrence of sugar in the plant kingdom in general. - The different forms of sugar cane. - The creation of a sugar plantation. - The way of planting sugar. - The development of the reed and its maturity. - The harvest. - The different sugar mills.

The occurrence of sugar in the vegetable kingdom is very general; in most seeds it develops during germination; it is found in the flower, excreted from the nectar glands of the corolla, which sometimes appear as organs of their own; it excretes through openings in the skin on the surface of ripe grapes and figs. Sugar is one of the common nutrients in plants and is therefore just as abundant as rubber, but it is not found deposited in its own tunnels like rubber, but in a dissolved state in the sap of the plant. It is formed in and by the same cells in which the flour develops, and in general has a very great affinity for it. That is why one sees the sugar and the flour formation alternating with one another at different periods in the life of the plant; In the ripening seed, sugar formation usually precedes flour formation; B. with the types of grain, with peas and so on; If the ripe seed begins the life cycle of the new plant during germination, then this flour is converted into sugar and gum. B. the malt preparation. In the wood substance we find a great deal of flour deposited in the pith rays towards winter and during it; in the spring, when the sap rises after the buds, it is again dissolved in sugar and gum.

Different types of sugar are known in the plant kingdom, the most important of which are cane sugar, slimy sugar or syrup, glucose or honey sugar, manna sugar and others. m. are; Sometimes one finds several kinds of sugar combined in one and the same plant, so the crystalline cane sugar and the uncrystalline mucous sugar are present in sugar cane. Since the cane sugar can be changed into mucus sugar by boiling it for a long time in water, this already shows that they are closely related.

Of sugar-cane, as of all plants which have been under human culture for millennia, several forms are known, which are regarded by some as special species, and which retain their peculiarities in the most varied of treatment and the most varied of soil. In America there are four such forms, of which the first two are the most important, and to whose exclusive culture we are more and more restricted.

The first form is the East Indian cane (Canna creolla in Spanish America), which has been grown in America for a long time and is therefore considered a domestic plant by present-day Americans. The second form is the otaheitic pipe, which the Spaniards call Canna habanera because it was first brought to Havana and from there it was carried over to the mainland. The third form is the blue or striped tube (Canna veteada), which is regarded as a special species and has been erected under the name Saccharum violaceum Tussac. Finally, the fourth form is the so-called brown reed (Canna morena), sometimes called the split reed (Canna reventador), it is the worst of all and is cleared out wherever one becomes aware of it in the plantations.

We will first talk about the cultivation of the Otaheiti pipe, because it is the most beneficial in terms of both sugar content and lifespan, its distribution is therefore steadily increasing and which is only prevented from displacing the East Indian pipe due to climatological and geognostic conditions.

In general, forest soil is most beneficial to the Otaheiti pipe, but in recent years America has abandoned the opinion that the savanna soil should be entirely useless for sugar production.

One usually begins with the establishment of a sugar plantation by knocking down the high forest at the beginning of the dry season; After the felled trunks have been left to dry out for three or four months, they are set alight and the vegetation is allowed to burn through the fire for the benefit of the soil, which is fertilized by the ashes. The remains, which were not destroyed by the first burning down, are collected in piles and set on fire and the land is now open for cultivation. All the tree roots remain in the ground, since it would be too costly to uproot them, and since a considerable amount of nutrient is in any case supplied to the field through their slow rotting, but it goes without saying that such a soil cannot be plowed can open, but must use agricultural implements for this purpose, which have been perfectly functional and have been in use by the ancient Indians for thousands of years. The most important of these devices is the so-called tlalacha, a six to eight pound [564] Heavy iron instrument with a shaft, representing an ax on one side and a hoe on the other, and in this way also suitable for cutting tree roots and digging the ground. The other instrument is called a Tencole and is a short-shafted, ax-like crook knife for cutting the bushes, cleaning the sugar cane field and the like. In the inner parts of Mexico, where the sugar-cane is found, and where the land is forest-free, while the ground is very stony, an agricultural implement called a coa is used, a crescent-shaped spade well suited for digging up the earth between the stones and throw them up on the sides. In those forest areas where sugar cane has been built for a long time and where the forest is kept down to create new sugar cane fields, it is not simply burned down, but the trees are cut down and then transported to the sugar house on mules. The consumption of firewood on a sugar plantation is very important; on a plantation containing 20,000 arrobas[1] Sugar is produced, 4–6,000 fathoms of wood are consumed annually under the kettles and in the drying houses.

After the land has been cleared, the furrows are marked, which should be opened with a sharp instrument, this operation is called rayar. The furrows are then opened and made eight inches deep, as on the ground six inches wide, and drawn parallel at intervals of three to four and one-half feet, depending on the nature of the soil. In these furrows cut pieces of sugar cane (semilla) 1/2 cubit length are placed lengthways so that two pieces are placed opposite each other at the furthest edge of the furrow, and a third piece

is placed in the middle between the previous and the following pair of pages. One prefers to use the half-ripe reed for planting, because it is more juicy and stays longer in the soil before it sprouts in the event of a drought; or the hacked tips of sugar cane, which are otherwise only used for green fodder because they do not contain a lot of sugar. On a visit to a sugar cane plantation in Matlaluca with Don Gabriel Torrens, I remember seeing excellent fields with Otaheiti cane, which had been planted in the simplest and cheapest way in the world, by putting the cane pieces at an angle into holes that one had with had stuck a sharp stake in the ground about a cubit away. But only where the soil is very rich and the climate is humid, this simple method can be used with luck.

In some places the so-called Peruvian sugar planting method is used, according to which the pipe is laid horizontally and, as it were, in radii in so-called ollas (pots or pits), which are dug with suitable spaces and with a diameter of 11/2 cubits.

After the reed is laid in the furrows or in the pits, it is covered with two inches of earth, and how quickly the young shots come out depends on the humidity of the rainy season. The rainy season is undeniably the best time of year to plant sugar cane, and during this time the cane seldom remains in the ground for more than 20 to 29 days before it begins to germinate; however, sugar cane can be planted at any time of the year without any risk, except that it sometimes lies in the ground for 8 to 10 weeks before it germinates. Immediately after the field has turned green from the protruding stalks of sugar cane, it is carefully cleared of all weeds, and some loose earth is heaped around the cane with the hoe. Every other month or depending on the circumstances, this cleaning is repeated, and each time a little more soil is added at the same time, so that the earlier furrows after 4 to 5 cleanings represent just as many elevations. Sugar cane grows especially in the rainy season, but does not develop a lot of sugar; during the dry season the development in length is insignificant, but the juicy green cane formed during the rainy season ripens afterwards, and the excretion of sugar takes place more abundantly. The links formed during the dry season are shorter and woodier, the knots harder and thicker, while the links between them are particularly sugary.

The Otaheiti tube generally takes 18 to 22 months to mature, but there are fortunate locations and climates that take no more than 11 to 12 months to mature. The maturity of the pipe can be recognized by several secure signs. The leaves wither from below towards the tip, the reed takes on a canary-yellow color, which on the sunny side is even reddish; the cut pipe, left in the sun for several days, neither shrinks nor splits. The most unmistakable sign, however, is the test of the sugar content of the cane in the cooking house. Tested with the aërometer, namely, the juice of the fully ripe tube shows 111/2 to 14 °, while that of the unripe tube shows at most 10 to 11 °.

The difference in the product is almost unbelievable. 420 jugs of mature cane juice give 450 to 500 pounds of melado[2] from 37 to 38 ° according to the specific gravity; the same quantity of juice from immature or crippled cane gives at best 350 to 400 pounds. In addition to the disadvantage which one has in the yield if the reed is cut too early, there is also the fact that the melado made from ripe reed, after it has become cold, is much thicker and lasts for several months, whereas that made from unripe reed is much thicker and lasts for several months becomes thin and very easily goes into acid fermentation.

The sugar-cane is knocked close to the root with crooked knives, the leaves are stripped off, and the tip is capped, which parts are used for feeding, for roofing, or the latter, as already mentioned, for planting. The pipe is then tied up in bundles of 25 pieces, after the unusually long pipe has been cut to facilitate transport; the same is done by means of mules or on carts to the mill. The length of the ripe cane varies widely, from 6 to 20 feet; Meanwhile, 10 to 12 feet can be specified as the center length.

The construction of the sugar mills in America is very different, and we cannot go into a more detailed description of them here. Suffice it to say that all forms are found, the simple and extremely imperfect ancient Indian hand-mills[3], the clumsy Spanish mills with wooden rollers, which are moved with the help of oxen or mules, the improved American ones with horizontal or perpendicular metal rollers, overshot and undershot water mills, as well as the most excellent steam mills. A sugar mill with three rollers, which is set in motion by eight mules and works for eight to ten hours, can squeeze out 7500 pieces of cane, which gives a hundred baril juice (caldo), equal to 3400 jugs. These 7,500 pieces of cane grow on land containing 24 furrows of sugar plantation, each 90 cubits long.

In the sugar mill, two trapicheros are busy carrying the pipe to the rollers; In these two metedores are placed so that one puts the pipe between the rollers, while the other receives the crushed pipe on the opposite side, which in turn is brought through the uppermost rollers, whereupon the foremost metedore receives it and is pressed out throws away. Two bargasseros carry the squeezed cane out of the mill and two arrieros drive the mules, which are four and four in harness. In the forest-less areas the squeezed cane is used for boiling sugar, and supplies just the necessary quantity of fuel for boiling the juice mass that has been squeezed out of it. In order to spread out the crushed reed and to dry it, two more volteadores are then necessary.

[590]
Preparation of raw and white sugar. - The pounding of the sugar into solid forms. - The enemies of sugar cane. - The yield of the fields. - The East Indian pipe. - The dropping of a sugar plantation. - What is necessary to set up a plantation. - Negro slavery.

The sugar juice runs in a gutter from the mill into the kettle of the cooking house, every time as much juice has been squeezed out as it fills a kettle. Here the juice is cooked incessantly because it goes into fermentation very quickly. During the vigorous boil, lime water or ash liquor is added to saturate any acid; the boiling juice is constantly skimmed off, and when it has obtained its definite consistency, it is filled out. The 3400 jugs of juice mentioned above, which are squeezed daily, give, sufficiently boiled down, 3780 pounds of melado. If one wishes to prepare raw sugar from this, the hot mass is filled into large wooden bowls two cubits in diameter, where it slowly cools while stirring constantly, and in this way the cane sugar and the mucous sugar are brought into precise connection; When the mass has cooled down sufficiently, it is filled into conical wooden molds 5 inches deep and 3 inches in diameter, and here quickly solidifies to a brown, hard raw sugar, which in America bears the name Panela. Two and two of these sugar cones are wrapped in straw, and later sold under the name of a hat sugar.

If, on the other hand, white sugar is to be prepared from the Melado, it is filled into large, inverted conical clay molds drilled at the bottom, under which round clay tubs are placed to collect the syrup that runs off. The above 3780 pounds of melado gives 1000 pounds of white sugar; the rest will gradually drain as a bad syrup. Of this syrup, 500 pounds is used to distill one baril (90 bottles) of sugar brandy; of the melado, from which the cane-sugar has not been eliminated, only 350 pounds are used for the same quantity. It is noted that the brandy obtained is 29-30 degrees strong.

In the sugar house there is a first and second sugar master, and several assistants and two stokers are employed. As soon as the sugar has solidified, the sugar molds are transferred from the cooking house to the so-called refinery house, where the syrup gradually runs off the crystallized sugar. After three days the top layer is removed from the molds where all the slimy and vegetable parts have accumulated; the sugar is firmly pounded into the mold and the empty space is filled with melado. Two days later the first clay covering is given, which consists of a stiff clay dough that comes over the sugar so that the moisture in the sugar slowly seeps through the clay, dissolves the syrup that is trapped between the sugar crystals, and causes it to drain off. How many clay coverings one should gradually give depends entirely on the whiteness one wishes to give the sugar. In America people usually limit themselves to two or three layers of clay, because white sugar is not so important there. After the sugar has been purified in this way for 8-12 days, the clay is removed; the molds are placed in the sun for three to four days to dry, after which the hats are removed from the molds; and when these have been left in the sun for a few days to bleach, they are taken to hot dry houses, where they remain for eight days, and the sugar is then ready. The sugar prepared in this way is white with large, shiny crystals in the curd, but it slowly dissolves. The hats usually weigh 25 Spanish pounds.

The sugar cane blooms in December and January, but this is not the case every year, but usually only every third or fourth year; it is believed to be a bad sign and it usually causes loss to the plantation owner. Special climatic conditions promote the flowering of the sugar cane.When October and November have been damp, and December and January are followed by warm weather, one sees all of a sudden all the sugar fields are covered with fine, silvery, waving plumage flags. Experience has shown that other conditions also promote flowering. In general, the warmer the climate, the more frequent it occurs. The reed blooms more easily in clayey soil than in dam soil; mature cane flowers more heavily than young green ones; in some years you can even see reeds that are six to seven months old in bloom. With the flowering the cane grows over, and from the moment in which the tufts of flowers have appeared, the cane constantly loses its sugar content, in that the plant now loses part of its superfluous food (the sugar) for the needs of the flower and the plant Must transform fruiting. The flowering sugar field must therefore be cut off at once, in spite of the fact that one often receives only a third part of the yield of sugar which the ripe cane would have supplied from such a field. If the reed is not cut, it shoots out in a multitude of side shots, which gradually consume all the sugar, and the whole sugar plant dies on it, while the cut one is, on the contrary, regenerated and lives ten to twelve years.

Sugar cane has many enemies, the worst of which we shall call a worm which develops in the lowest knots, pierces the cane and destroys it; Proboscis, raccoons, monkeys, all kinds of parrots are true destroyers of the sugar fields; a mole-like animal, Tupa, undermines the sugar cane, gnaws off the fine roots, and thus kills it. The ants like to build their big piles on the warm and yet shady pure sugar fields, but the intense heat, [591] which develops from the pile, as well as the sharp, acidic exhalation are harmful to the reed, it turns yellow and dies. One can see at once, if one looks across the sugar field, whether there are ants in it or not. The grass-eating animals are very eager for the juicy leaves and young, sweet stalks, but one protects oneself against them by enclosing them.

When the harvest has been brought home from the sugar field, the stripped leaves and tips are left to dry for about a fortnight, and then they are burned; the fire spreads over the rhizomes without damaging them, all weeds are destroyed, and the soil is fertilized with ashes. After a few weeks, the sugar field will turn green again as new shots sprout.

The first sugar harvest usually takes 3–4 months longer to ripen than subsequent ones. There is an important difference in the yield of the various cuts which a sugar field affords; each subsequent section shows a strongly decreasing product compared to the previous one; and the overview given here will easily convince oneself of the disadvantage of letting a sugar field grow too old; even if maintaining it involves insignificant expenses compared to planting a new field.

With the first harvest, a tarea yields land = 8000 ☐ elephants,
an average of 2000 pounds of melado,
at the second harvest an average of 1750 pounds of melado,
at the third harvest an average of 1250 pounds of melado,
at the fourth harvest an average of 1000 pounds of melado,
at the fifth harvest an average of 500 pounds of melado.

The fifth cut gives no more than a quarter of the product compared to the first. This is mainly due to the fact that the sugar cane emaciates the soil to a great extent, and because in America there is absolutely nothing known of the fertilization of a field when the strength of the soil is gradually exhausted. The knowledgeable sugar-planters in America never let a field be more than four cuts, and then leave it to itself. In a short time it is then covered with the ugly weed vegetation which is called Acahual. Only after six to seven years does the former forest vegetation begin to rise above these bushes, which represent the heather vegetation of the northern zone, and gradually, as forest trees shoot through the ugly, felted vegetation, these light-loving plants become through the increasing shade , which the growing forest trees spread, displaced. It is believed that after twelve years such an abandoned sugar field has recovered sufficiently, and the young, lush forest will have to give way again to the ax.

So far beyond the cultural conditions of the Otaheiti pipe in America.

East Indian sugar cane (), which is of course comparatively thin in comparison with the one treated above, and therefore does not produce by far as large a quantity of sugar from a single cane, has other advantages which recommend its cultivation. On the whole, it is more hardened, makes do with the soil, if only it is not lacking in moisture, grows more densely and in this way, through the amount of the cane, makes up for what the individual cane lacks in sugar content, and it also matures in a significantly shorter time. This sugar cane is mainly grown in the large basin-like valley depressions of the American interior, z. B. in the Mexico valley, in the plain de Amilpas, in the Oajaca valley, as well as on the whole west side. The East Indian reed is advantageously grown in dry and stony regions, where it is possible to encourage its development by artificial irrigation. In the inner parts of Mexico a very excellent irrigation system for the cultivated land has existed since the earliest times, and the meadow irrigation and irrigation, which was only known in northern Europe in recent years and used with so much advantage, have been in use for centuries by the Mexican Indians . For this purpose, dams are built on higher-lying areas, where the water can be accumulated in large quantities during the rainy season, and then it is led through masonry channels onto the fields of the plains, so that they can be flooded at will during the dry season can be. There are very precise legal provisions governing the use of this water, which is allowed to go into the various fields in a specific sequence and at specific intervals. This excellent irrigation system makes it possible to grow the most abundant sugar cane even in those areas where not a drop of rain falls in the course of seven months.

East Indian sugar cane is planted towards the end of August and germinates after 20-25 days. It takes 15 months to reach maturity; as a result, the harvest begins in December of the following year and lasts until April. There is usually no more than one cut; but as an exception I have seen sugar fields of this kind, which were 6–7 years old. Since most of this reed is built in the woodless areas, the plow can be used very often to open the furrows, and the expense of creating new fields is consequently rather insignificant. One reckons an average of 16-18 pieces of East Indian cane for a pound of sugar, whereas many of the Ottonian cane are found which weigh 12 pounds and 3 / 4-1 pound melado, or in the still kettle give 1/2 bottle of brandy. Whereas the Otaheiti cane can be planted at all times of the year and thereby has the great advantage that the various fields ripen at different times, and the plantation can therefore be organized so systematically that one field has just become ripe when the other the harvest has been brought in, and can operate in this way throughout the year, so that the mill is kept running continuously, but this is by no means the case with the East Indian pipe, which results in the great inconvenience that all the fields become one Season, so that one has to work day and night for 3-4 months to get the whole reed ground.

The striped sugar cane () is mainly grown in the Oajaca Valley. It is distinguished not only by its color, but also by the lack of the detached, stinging hairs which are found in the other two species. It reaches the significant length of 18-21 feet, but the cane is very woody, even the pulp, and therefore contains little juice. Its culture is more and more restricted by the importation of the two more advantageous species. The fourth kind of sugar cane, which is called, takes its name from the bad property that the individual limbs of the cane spring open in the field and the juice begins to ferment, so that, when pressed with other good cane, it can easily pass the whole juice mass through it Acid spoils.

As in the cultivation of grain, it is also in the cultivation of sugar, in that only large-scale plantings yield a significant advantage. Any plantation which does not produce 20,000 arrobes (1/4 ct.) Of sugar and more will hardly be able to last in America, since a large part of the expenses for the furnishing of the house and the other buildings are the same. On a plantation which is in full operation, it is usually assumed that the sale of the syrup will cover all operating expenses, and that the sugar obtained will turn out to be a pure surplus. Since it is seldom that the sugar plantations in America are occupied with sugar production and rum distillation at the same time, the syrup obtained during the sugar preparation is usually sold to the distilleries. In Mexico, therefore, one reckons as many thousands of piastres net income from a plantation as it produces Arroben sugar. But in this calculation the sums which were applied to the investments, which are of course very significant, are by no means included. Therefore American sugar production does not produce so great an advantage as some of the data quoted above might suggest. Only a small number of the colonists have the ability to establish a larger sugar plant, for partly the investment capital is considerable (a sugar hacienda calculated on the annual production of 20,000 arrobes, cannot be set up below 70,000 piasters), partly it takes seven years the plantation granted full yield. If I should explain these relationships in more detail, [592] I would have to go into more detail; but perhaps it will be more vivid if I present some isolated facts.

The colonist who wants to establish a larger plantation in America must have very significant mechanical and technical knowledge and skills, for he must have all the resources with him and absolutely must not count on any help. He must be a competent architect in order to be able to carry out his residential buildings, his factory buildings, his stoves, his water pipes; he himself must be a carpenter, carpenter, blacksmith, potter, cooper, belt maker, saddler in order to design and build the various necessary machines and equipment; he must be able to do everything himself if he wishes to have done it; He must also be a land surveyor in order to be able to make significant leveling of the water pipes, he must have agronomic knowledge in order not to ruin himself by mistakes in the use of the fields. If you consider the sums required to list residential buildings, sales outlets, pack houses, sugar mills, cooking houses, drying houses, refineries, brandy distilleries, lime kilns, brickworks, blacksmiths, workshops, apartments for the workers, and also what sums to purchase all machine parts Agricultural and handicraft implements, as are used for a thousand other things, one will not be surprised that so many colonists were ruined in the impotent attempts to establish large sugar plantations in America, because their capital was exhausted long before that a prospect of yield opened up.

A plantation which produces 20,000 arrobes of sugar annually employs 200 workers, whose work is fixed. Some take care of the dams, sluices, water pipes, the irrigation of the fields, the field work, others cut firewood for the stoves, plant the sugar cane in the new fields, cut the sugar cane, tie it up and transport it to the mill, others prepare the sugar. It is therefore no wonder that the weekly expenses for such a staff amount to between 12 and 1,800 thaler, which, however, for the most part return to the coffers of the plantation owner, since on the plantations one can find outlets for all kinds of goods, the sale of which has considerable advantages throws off.

My present communications on the sugar culture must be limited to this; but I cannot conclude without first drawing attention to the glorious example that Mexico gave the world and by which it proved in the most complete manner that it is possible in America to build sugar cane with free hands.

Let us hope that the shame to which the cultivation of this plant first gave rise to the rise of Negro slavery will soon cease to stigmatize the white population of Europe, who for so long have been representatives and advocates of civilization, but who nevertheless was too selfish to extend its fruit across the sea to the battered African. Let us hope that the last hour of negro slavery will soon have struck!


  1. ↑ An arroba is 25 Spanish pounds.
  2. ↑ Melado is the strongly boiled down sugar juice, from which the Corrumpirten Creole-English names Malassa and Molasses arose.
  3. ↑ So that one is not surprised that I mention the sugar mills among the old Indians after I said earlier that the sugar cane first came to America with the Europeans, I have to remark that the old Mexicans had been doing this for centuries before the arrival of the Spaniards They knew and prepared sugar, but not from sugar cane but from corn stalks. Without knowledge of plant physiology and plant chemistry, experience had taught them to use those results which science has only recently offered the Europeans. By breaking off the tip and the cobs from the corn, they forced it to remain in the sugar stage, and thus they transformed a flour-producing grain into a sugar-containing cane, the juice of which, like that of sugar cane, was squeezed out.