When European colonists settled New England, they tended to farm areas already cleared by Native Americans. A. Once the supply of suitable cleared land ran out, the settlers had to clear new land before they could plant, generally converting the trees they removed into lumber, fuel, or potash. B. Because clearing fields took time and the need for food was pressing, farmers were forced to resort to extensive farming practices rather than follow their old European farming system. C. The settlers developed a farm ecology that eventually made the region more productive than the South or even the mid-Atlantic area. D. The settlers' attempt to follow what, in Europe, was considered proper farming practices was soon abandoned as they discovered that food could be grown more efficiently in other ways. E. After planting corn (maize) enough times to drain the excess nitrogen out of the soil, the settlers were able to grow more familiar European crops such as wheat and rye. F. The soil was not particularly fertile, but grass grew well and fed cattle that produced manure, which in turn served as fertilizer for crops and recycled nutrients back into the soil.