By Albert Howard
Identify: An Agricultural testomony <>Binding: Paperback <>Author: AlbertHoward <>Publisher: BenedictionClassics
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The vacant space, about 5 feet wide, at the end of the pit allows the mass to be conveniently turned from one end by means of a pitchfork. The fermenting material is piled up loosely against the vacant end of the pit, care being taken to turn the unaltered layer in contact with the air into the middle of the new heap. As the turning takes place, the mass is watered, if necessary, as at the time of charging, care being taken to make the material moist but not sodden with water. The aim should be to provide the mass with sufficient moisture to carry on the fermentation to the second turn.
In a rough and ready way fertility is maintained. Such shifting cultivation still exists all over the world, but like the taking up of new land is only possible when the population is small and suitable land abundant. This burning process has even been incorporated into permanent systems of agriculture and has proved of great value in rice cultivation in western India. Here the intractable soils of the rice nurseries have to be prepared during the last part of the hot season so that the seedlings are ready for transplanting by the break of the monsoon.
If, on the other hand, the soil's reserves are squandered, crop production ceases to be good farming: it becomes something very different. The farmer is transformed into a bandit. It is now possible to define more clearly the meaning of soil fertility. It is the condition of a soil rich in humus in which the growth processes proceed rapidly, smoothly, and efficiently. The term therefore connotes such things as abundance, high quality, and resistance to disease. A soil which grows to perfection a wheat crop -- the food of man -is described fertile.
An Agricultural Testament by Albert Howard
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