The first crops were oats used for livestock feed, wheat and also barley. Now days, flax, and fall rye are among the grains grown. The first grass seed (which was rye) to be sown was in 1929 or 1930. Since that time Brome grass has become one of the favorite tame grasses. Alsike, Alta sweet, Fescue, and many others are now being grown. The Montney district has won several prizes in various seed fairs through out the years.
I wonder how many people know that gardens were planted and being grown by the Indian population when the first settlers arrived in this district? The Indians were supplied with walking plows and spades for their gardens. The garden seeds were ordered from the Hudson Bay Co. The vegetables grown were the more hardy types –potatoes, carrots, turnips, etc.
Now days we grow most vegetables except those kinds that find our northerly climate too chilly. Potatoes, carrots, turnips, lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower, onions, radishes, corn, beets, peas, beans, Swiss chard, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers and herbs of several kinds are the main items in most gardens.
Perennial flowers were among favorite flowers in early years, among these were pansies, Sweet Williams, sweet rocket, and lychnis, and many old favorites. Now many annuals are grown — lovely gladiolas, asters and flowers that once were considered too delicate to withstand the cold.
The first local agriculture fair was held at Carmichael Crossing in 1930. This is about a mile from the North Peace fair grounds. Montney, North Pine, Rose Prairie and Pine View districts jointly sponsor the fair. A fair is held each year with finest of entries on exhibit.
H.E. Becker and E.A. Tucker brought in the first threshing machines in 1928 when the first real influx of settlers began. These two machines did all the threshing in Montney, North Pine, Rose Prairie, Pine View and Murdale districts and also much of the threshing in Ft. St. John district. Farmers would stack their grain, then thresh it. Now much of the harvesting is done with combines, but some still use threshing machines. Balers are used by many to bale their winter-feed — this makes for easier handling. Grain in the early days was hauled to elevators in Dawson Creek with horses (using wagons in summer and sleighs in winter). The trip would take a week so bed rolls and grub boxes were taken by all who made the trip. Stops were made at different places along the way — now or course, it’s hauled by truck!