FERTILITY OF SOILS.
The well being of plants depends largely on what they absorb, just as human beings depend on what they eat. In addition to water and air, plant food consists of organic material and inorganic rock minerals. Healthy plant bodies contain various minerals which endow them with hardiness, power to resist fungus diseases and pests, and contribute to their content of vitamins.
Virgin soils are fertile only when they contain a variety of suitable rock minerals and organic materials chiefly from decayed plants. Correct mineralization restores the fertility of virgin soils and imparts the delicious flavour of vitalized and correctly mineralized foods to the produce.
In Nature, the minerals are returned to the soil on the death of the plant. In civilized countries the crops extract these minerals from the soil to the extent of about 5 cwt. per acre per annum. The produce is taken away to towns, and only a portion of the mineral content is replaced by farmyard manure. Some minerals are washed out by rain especially from the bare soil of cultivated fields and gardens, and when these minerals become scarce fertility decreases. We should remedy this by restoring not only the usual potash, phosphates and lime, but also all the rock minerals found in fertile virgin soils.
ARTIFICIAL OR NATURAL NITRATES.
In Nature nitrates are obtained by plants as a result of the action of nitrogen-fixing bacteria in soils and by nitrate- forming bacteria acting on decayed vegetable and animal matter in the presence of air, also by symbiotic bacteria and fungi. The good work of these bacteria is shown by luxuriant forest growth, and by majestic trees.
These bacteria flourish best in sweet soil and in the natural conditions to which they are habituated. When the soil is contaminated by fumigants, poison sprays, etc., or when chemical fertilizers, not natural components of the soil, are added, these helpful micro-organisms are reduced in numbers. The bacterial flora of the soil is changed by these unnatural procedures.
For this reason we do not agree with the usual method of adding artificial nitrates and recommend that nitrates should be obtained from decayed organic matter (chiefly vegetable) such as compost heaps, digging in partly-grown green crops which rot rapidly (“green manuring”) [See Food Gardening. Published by G. Bell. IS., and The Manuring of Soils on No-Animal Lines. The Vegetarian Society, Manchester. 7d. post free.] lead mould, certain types of peat and vegetable refuse such as hops; guano and farmyard manure, but not in excess.
When for special reasons very large size or quantity is required, and the food quality or flavour of the produce is not important, liberal dressings of nitrates may be added. These give large crops and hasten their growth but the plants do not seem to have time to absorb from the soil sufficient of the other minerals which give them tone and vigour. Soft sappy tissue is growth with thin cell walls easily attacked by insect and fungoid pests. That is why city dwellers are familiar with vegetables of poor quality, sometimes potatoes which turn dark, cabbage that has bad odour and lettuce that quickly decays.
On the other hand vegetables and fruits grown under properly mineralized conditions are delicious in flavour; very sweet, firm of flesh, deeply coloured, not watery and of course more nutritious and wholesome.
VITALITY OF PLANTS.
Diseases of cultivated plants are on the increase on account of the weak constitutions of over-stimulated plants. These are then protected by various poison sprays which are bad for bees, distasteful to wild birds and to the valuable earth worm. We are thus getting into a vicious circle, for during spraying as much poison generally falls on the soil as on the foliage, producing cumulative toxic effects, which eventually endanger the fertility of our fields and gardens. A sufficiency of lime and other minerals sweetens the soil, diminishes pests by means of clean vigorous growth, and enables us to reduce all poison sprays to a minimum.
Correctly mineralized plants are full of vigour and able to resist disease attacks, therefore such fertilization is of great value to all growers of pedigree plants and of disease-resistant seeds.
It is not usually appreciated that vitamins are just as essential to plants as they are to men, and they cannot be properly secreted without a varied supply of rock minerals. Hence the feeble constitution of over stimulated plants. We secure our vitamins mainly from vegetables. When these lack minerals or are over stimulated by nitrogenous manures, vitamins are necessarily deficient in the plants, just as vitality is at a low ebb in men and animals when synthetic or chemicalized foods are eaten.
We draw attention here to the decided connection between correct mineralization, vitamins, sunlight and the endocrine gland functions, and we submit that the increased vitamin content of correctly mineralized vegetables, grass, roots and fruits is a direct result of using of soil and plant food dressing such as “Fluora” which has been prepared for this purpose.
CONNECTION BETWEEN HEALTH OF PLANTS AND ANIMALS AND CORRECT FERTILIZATION.
To maintain good health, animals and men require not only Lime, Potash and Phosphates, but also regular small amounts of organic salts containing Copper, Iron, Manganese, Zinc, Fluorine, Sulphur, Iodine and other elements. All food comes from plants, for meat is derived from vegetation. Our soils originally contained only about 1 per cent. of all these elements together. Most cultivated soils become every year increasingly deficient in these minerals, which should be replaced.
The above minerals are especially important for
(i) Sick or delicate people and growing children.
(ii) Infants and mothers during lactation.
(iii) Athletes and all requiring stamina or undergoing strain such as manual workers, race horses, milking cows, laying hens, etc.
Every microscopic body cell requires these minerals, and quite a small shortage causes cell weakness leading to sickness in both plants and animals. Moreover they are far more valuable in the organic food form presented by plants than in the crude mineral form, as often added to cattle and hen feeds. Hence the importance of using a fertilizer which mineralizes pastures, hen runs, root crops as well as vegetables and cereals.
In one recent investigation fifteen samples of lettuce were analysed for Iron, and most of them were found to be almost devoid of it. A startling proof of the need for an adequate mineral supply in plant and human feeding is shown by the “Heart Chart,” published by the Heart Association of America. It shown that death from heart disease is increasing rapidly in those States which have been longest farmed, which means that the valuable mineral elements are deficient in the long-tilled soils.
Correct mineralization first assures that the soil is sweet and pests diminished. Then it ensures the production of healthy and vitamin containing tissues in fruits, cereals, roots and vegetable and, through them, vigorous cells in the animal and human body.
QUALITY BEFORE QUANTITY, A “NEW DEAL” FOR HUMAN WELFARE.
Agricultural Science is on the verge of yet more important discoveries — how to make the earth more fertile and by so doing increase the health and strength and happiness of mankind.
This statement was made by Sir Frederick Keeble, D.Sc., F.R.S., Sherardian Professor of Botany at Oxford University, when he delivered his research and development lecture at the Royal Institution, London, on March 7th, 1935, under the joint auspices of the Royal Institution and the British Science Guild.
Sir Frederick emphasized that he was referring to the possibility, not merely of increasing soil productivity, but of improving the quality of foodstuffs from a medical standpoint.
“The most important task that agricultural science can accomplish” he said, ” is to discover and learn to control the conditions in which soil and crop provide both the necessary body-building and energy-producing food materials and also those that stir up growth and activity in the animal and human body”.
“Much is known of the conditions necessary for the production of the first kinds of food. But little is known about the conditions under which crops provide the growth and activity provoking foods”.
“When this is known”, he emphasized, “food will be judged by a new and higher standard, and, with foods conforming to that standard, human strength will increase and health will improve.
“There is no reason why these increases in strength and improvement of health should not go on continuously until the human race becomes far better than it now is or has ever been”.
Although Major Mackenzies article is extremely plausible and very impressive, I do not possess the authority to endorse his arguments.
The soil has been fertilized for thousands of years throughout the world by civilized and uncivilized nations with animal manure with great success, and it is difficult to imagine that practice which has been universally followed from pre-historic ages onward can be wrong. Besides, I am not impressed by the findings and declarations of analytical chemists. Analytical chemistry is scarcely reliable. Some of the most important elements, such as vitamins, have escaped analysis. Animal manure is extremely rich in hormones, and these are undoubtedly amongst the most important food essentials. Can we flourish without them? I doubt it. However, I am open to conviction.
EDITOR, “HEAL THYSELF”.
It makes a difference to a mans body whether bread be of bolted or of unbolted flour, whether it be of winnowed or of unwinnowed wheat, whether it be kneaded with much water or with little, whether it be thoroughly kneaded or unkneaded, whether it be thoroughly baked or underbaked, and there are countless other differences. Barley cake varies in just the same way.
For each of these differences produces in a human being an effect and a change of one sort or another, and upon these differences is based all the dieting of a man, whether he be in health, recovering from an illness, or suffering from disease. Accordingly there could surely be nothing more useful or more necessary to know than these things. –HIPPOCRATES, Ancient Medicine.