Agriculture of the Sumerians began agriculture around 10,000 years ago. They inhabited in the Fertile Crescent which is now part of the Near East. The Fertile Crescent is a land of good soil and good climate where there are many wild plants and animals. The Sumerians soon learned how to domesticate them. They shifted from hunting-gathering to farming and sedentary living.
Some of the plants which are abundant in the Sumerians are beans, peas, wheat, and barley. The advantage with these plants is that they don’t need to be planted individually. They just throw their seeds in the fields and they grow. The presence of large mammals also contributed to the successful agriculture. Oxen, which were attached to plows, helped the farmers to till the land. They were also able to domesticate pigs, goats, sheep, and cattle. Donkeys, meanwhile, were attached to carts and helped farmers to transport the crops.
Like all the other early civilizations of Mesopotamia, they flourished near the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The Sumerians were the first ones to establish irrigation on a large scale. They made canals, dikes, and ditches to ensure that their crops have enough water. When the flood season of the rivers is over, the farmers drain excess water through canals.
Afterwards, they plow the fields and rake it repeatedly. The Sumerians planted in spring and by fall, they begin to harvest. They developed tools such as pickaxes, wagons, and sleds to help them in the process.
The grains and peas that the Sumerians were able to harvest can last for a year. What they do to the crops is to dry and preserve them, so they could be stored. Unlike potatoes or corn, the indigenous plants of the Fertile Crescent don’t rot. The Sumerians developed pottery for food storage. The result of this successful food production is that the Sumerians increased in population and began to build a complex society with many legacies.
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