This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V24", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
A correspondent of the Gardener's Chronicle says of the Date Palms: "They do not thrive in regions where they cannot reach water by means of their long strong roots, or where they cannot be watered. The largest Palm forest I have ever seen is at Elche, in the province of Murcia, in Spain. It is many miles in circumference, in a most arid, burnt up spot, but then a small river runs through it; round every tree there is a large saucer or depression, and at intervals throughout the sum mer the river is turned into these saucers by irrigation canals throughout its entire extent. The trees are grown for profit. They produce ripe edible fruit, which are sold in all the markets of this part of Spain as an important article of food. The Dates, however, are not the saccharine Dates we see and eat in the North as a sweetmeat, but a farinaceous dry Date which grinds into flour, and is consumed as such. I was told in Algiers that they cultivate in the desert oases sixty different kinds of Date. I saw very few Date trees in the vicinity of Algiers and along the coast.
They are principally cultivated on the southern side of the Mount Atlas, in the numerous oases that are found in the desert within a short distance from the southern basis of the Atlas range.