The New England Colonies

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Why did New England farmers practice subsistence farming?

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The answer to this question has to do with the geography and climate of New England. These northern colonies were defined by two main elements that prevented farmers from growing and harvesting many crops. These were poor soil conditions and a short growing season.

The soil in New England is defined by being very rocky with only a small layer of fertile topsoil suitable for farming. This is the result of the last ice age, when the glaciers covered this land. When the glaciers retreated 10,000 to 15,000 years ago, they stripped much of the otherwise fertile soil from the land. They also deposited countless rocks and boulders known...

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