Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Alley Watada Interview
Narrator: Alley Watada
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Denver, Colorado
Date: May 15, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-walley-01-0005

<Begin Segment 5>

RP: Let's still talk a little bit about your dad's farm. Did he own his own land?

AW: No, no. He started out in Platteville, Colorado, on a... and leased a small acreage there. And then when they finally grew or enlarged, he needed more space, so he moved from Fort Lupton, from Platteville to Fort Lupton. Then he leased a farm there. And it, I don't know how many acres they leased, but they, they used it. And at some point after the war, my two oldest brothers, when they got married, farmed together with my father and so they bought some farm in Fort Lupton.

RP: Yeah. Can you describe to us, sort of the lay of the land where your father's farm was in Platteville? Was it near the river? Was it up on a hill or just...

AW: Well, Platteville's sort of a plateau area, I mean, a flat area. There isn't too much hill. When you say... Platte River was nearby, but we're talking about five or six miles. And the farm, it was a rich agricultural farm.

RP: What did you grow primarily on that farm?

AW: Mostly vegetables. The, the main crops were sugar beets, cabbage, tomatoes. Because it was a small acreage, I don't recall very many things. The only thing I recall is as a youngster we were always out there weeding. But the crops, that I can't remember too well. And then when we moved to Platteville, things expanded. Then we grew, in addition to sugar beets, cabbage, and tomatoes, we had onions and potatoes. And those were the main crops there. And then they had agronomic crops, alfalfa, grain, and this was important for the ground so there would be a rotated.

RP: Renewed.

AW: That's right, sure.

RP: And, you can recall, were fertilizers in those days still sort of manure based?

AW: That's right. Right. We had a feed lot on the farm in Fort Lupton and we used all the manure there and we would spread that out in the farm. So that was... and then the farm was also near a railroad track so I remember them bringing a car or, a rail car, full of manure and we would unload that and spread it around the farm. So, those were the days that the commercial fertilizer was manure.

RP: You mentioned that an airplane accident was, people who were spraying?

AW: Right, uh-huh.

RP: Was, was that something that was done on your farm, too?

AW: Yes. In the... spreading with those airplanes started probably in the '50s, maybe earlier, I don't remember. But this is the way they were spraying, not everything, but probably most of our spraying was done by our own equipment that they had. They had a tank and a sprayer and a boom to spray out the material. But people who had large acreage would have the airplane come on out and spray. And I guess in one of those -- I was not home when it happened, but in one of those instances the airplane did not, there were saying that he tried to miss the power line and then in the process he crashed, and the poem said fortunately he lived.

RP: Did you have mechanized equipment on your farm when you were growing up? Like tractors, or did you rely on the horses still at that time?

AW: We had a tractor ever since I could remember, back in Platteville. But in Platteville it was mostly horses. They used the tractor, I can't -- probably for plowing, but for cultivating, doing the alfalfa, making furrows, I remember the horses. And, and then the horses, we probably had a couple of 'em in Fort Lupton. That's when their farm expanded so they bought more tractors and moved into tractors and then eventually went into mechanical harvesters. I remember that.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.