London's workers graded the steeper fields before you into stair-steps to prevent erosion. Traveling to Japan and Korea as a war correspondent in 1904, London had seen how well terracing worked.
"What I never been able to understand was why they could keep on for forty centuries in China getting good crops out of the soil, while in this country it was regarded as exhausted in forty years. I made up my mind that it was all a matter of the way we handled our soil... I had noticed the way the soil was washed down the hillsides by the rains, and I determined to prevent that, which I did by grading the land, making it over into rolling contours and abrupt terraces. It's the only way such land should be cultivated anyway, as it gives a chance for good, long furrows along the hillside. But the big thing about it is that by these new contours I keep the moisture in the soil and do not let it dissipate itself by seepage and evaporation." — Jack London
"There you see one of Jack's many striking hobbies - terrace farming. When Jack brought these 1500 acres they had been abandoned by six different ranchers, and each had done his level best to exhaust the soil and squeeze it of last profit possible, till the ground was as sterile as a piece of cement. Jack attacked the problem with his usual zeal, and there you see the results
of his efforts, an abundant profitable crop." — Eliza London Shepard, Ranch Superintendent, 1917