This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V18", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Where land is of a hard, rocky character, the rains are liable to run rapidly to the streams, very little penetrating beneath the surface. In such soils forests are of immense service by checking the rapid flow, and giving time for the water to sink in the ground. Little of this water, however, goes to aid springs, but is held by the soil for the trees' own use. The farmer is a much better aid to the water reservoirs of the earth than nature ever was. He loosens the soil by his various methods of culture, so that absorption takes place very rapidly. More rain will penetrate the earth in an acre of well cultivated corn or potatoes, or even in an ordinary timothy sod, in one year, than there would be in the same land, naturally hard and tree covered, in double the time. Art will beat nature in these matters.