Excerpt from Notes Upon Russia, Vol. 2: Being a Translation of the Earliest Account of That Country, Entitled Rerum Moscoviticarum Commentarii
It is evident from the trunks of large trees which still exist, that the whole country was not long since very woody; but although th... e husbandmen give care and labour to the cultivation of trees, all except such as grow in the fields are brought hither from the neighbouring provinces. There is abundance of corn and common vegetables, but none of the sweeter kinds of cherries or nuts (except filberts) are found in the whole country. They have indeed the fruits of other trees, but they are insipid. They cultivate melons with particular care and industry. They put earth mixed with manure into beds of a good depth, and set the seed in them, by which plan it is equally protected against immoderate cold or heat; for if the heat should happen to be too great, they prevent it from suffocating the seed by making little spiral chinks in the earth, which has been thus mixed with manure, while in excessively cold weather the warmth of the manure itself affords protection to the buried seed.
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