University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
The Aztecs simplistic crop-enhancing
The main supply for food for the Aztecs were agriculture and farming. They rely mainly on the crops for every season; they grow, produce and consume food and this is how they get their daily food. Terracing Indicating the societal complexity of the Aztecs, the farming technique known as terracing is complicated and elaborate. They used terracing in the hilly areas and built walls, forming terraces into the sides of the hills. These stone walls ran parallel to the contour of the slope and rainfall washed compost vegetation and
nutrients from the hills above. Terracing opened up previously unusable land for farming. Irrigation Because the Aztecs built extensive canal and water-diverting systems, irrigation farming became popular and productive. With water readily available, the Aztecs could enhance the growing season by irrigating the fields prior to planting, strengthen their crops by augmenting the rainfall with additional watering, and lengthen the farming season by irrigating long after the rains had stopped. Chinampas
Also know to the Aztecs as floating gardens, chinampas were pieces of land created by piling up alternating layers of compost vegetation and mud from the lake bottom, in the shallow marshy parts of the lakes. Initially the 30 feet by 330 feet chinampas were held in place by man-made posts, but eventually these fertile farming patches stayed secured by the roots of nearby willow trees. Once the mud and vegetation piled up higher than the water level, the plot was ready for cultivation.
The crop yield from chinampas was so prolific and expedient, farmers began growing, not only for themselves, but for marketing out to others. Rainfall Cultivation The Aztecs most basic and simplistic crop-enhancing technique, called rainfall cultivation, involved fallowing the fields. They left farming plots empty to collect itself and become nutritionally enhanced by rainfall. This process is the least labor intensive form of farming, but the Aztecs eventually cast it aside following the population boom and the need for larger, more productive crops.