Organic Gardening: The Whole Story by Jackie Gear, Alan Gear, HRH Prince of Wales

By Jackie Gear, Alan Gear, HRH Prince of Wales

Organic gardening has blossomed from a humble proposal right into a international stream. right here, readers will realize the roots of this environmentally awake technique, from the inspirational tale of its pioneers to the rules in the back of cultivating produce that's unfastened from insecticides and chemical compounds. Sprinkled all through are encouraging stories of enthusiastic gardeners, from urban dwellers to the Prince of Wales himself.

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But they still hadn’t deciphered the entire puzzle, and it was left to scientists from then on, until the late-20th century, to discover all the tiny amounts of trace minerals, or micronutrients, such as boron, selenium, molybdenum and zinc, that are now known to be essential elements of plant nutrition. Two years after Liebig’s discoveries, the world’s first soluble ‘chemical’ fertilizer was invented by John Bennet Lawes and Henry Gilbert. These two Englishmen took bonemeal, a rich source of the mineral phosphorus, and treated it with sulphuric acid, to produce superphosphate.

The Chinese peasants even erected earth-closet toilets by the side of the road for passing travellers to use, as a way of topping up their supplies of ‘night soil’ (produced from human faeces). They would then compost this with urine, vegetable waste and crop residues and spread it onto the land. The Chinese, alone among civilizations, had maintained the fertility of their agricultural soils for more than 4,000 years because they realized that organic matter is a vitally important component of soil.

Comfrey was obviously the chief focus of his interest, but through his friendship with Frank Newman Turner he was also aware of the work of Lady Balfour and her circle of organic farming pioneers. Lawrence had been one of the earliest members of the Soil Association and was already a regular contributor of organic gardening know-how to the organization’s quarterly journal, Mother Earth. At Bocking, therefore, having first cleared the weeds from his experimental trial ground, he began to set up not only comfrey beds but plots that would allow him to investigate organic gardening methods.

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