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Re: [SANET-MG] origin of "feed the soil to feed the plant"

Hi Jane -

Dr. William Albrecht probably made "feed the soil" famous, but there
are lots of soil scientists and farmers who have known and stated as much:

See this Sanet item with a "period-based" historical perspective:

Date:         Tue, 24 Sep 2002 13:53:01 -0500
Subject:      Historical Ag Literature & Digital Archives

Making of America (MOA) / Michigan Site
       The collection currently contains approximately 8,500 books
       and 50,000 journal articles with 19th century imprints.

At the Michigan Site, this example:

Plain and Pleasant Talk About Fruits, Flowers and Farming / by Henry
Ward Beecher (Derby & Jackson, New York, 1859; 420 p.)
Snippets which caught "my" eyes, from pages 10-11: "Our Creed"

"We believe in small farms and thorough cultivation"

"We believe that soil loves to eat, as well as its owner, and
ought, therefore, to be manured."

"We believe in good fences, good barns, good farmhouses,
good stock, good orchards, and children enough to gather the fruit"

"We believe in a clean kitchen, a neat wife in it, a spinning-piano,
a clean cupboard, a clean dairy, and a clean conscience"

When you examine the work of Cato the Elder and the Vrksharyurveda
from the ancient days, you can see that humus farming knowledge was
well established.  In this century we've had a number of modern day
humus farming pioneers with Friend Sykes, Newman Turner, Sir Albert Howard,
Ehrenfried Pfeiffer, Raoul France', Selman Waksman, Erhard Hennig, Hans
Hans Peter Rusch, Siegfried Luebke, and others.

Also see the USDA Yearbook of Agriculture: Soils, 1929.

The early day USDA soil scientists who worked in green manures and crop
rotations talked about "soil-depleting, soil-conserving, and
soil-building crop
rotations." [A.J. Pieters, 1938. USDA Leaflet No. 165.  7 p.]

Incidentally, Albrecht advocated broadcast fertilization vs band placement
to "feed the soil."  One of his research pictures is a meticulously
sifted root
window that shows the proliferation of roots around "pockets" of fertilizer
placed in certain zones.  This demonstration also illustrates that
feeding the
soil has more than one meaning.

Best regards,
Steve Diver

Jane Sooby wrote:

Hello there.

I've tried looking this up and have found two (so far) answers to the
question of who first originated the concept and the quote "feed the soil
to feed the plant."

In order not to bias you, I won't mention who they are, but please let me
know who you think said it first, or look it up and tell me. I've done
basic Google search but haven't found a specific citation yet.

Whoever can send me a verifiable literature citation first wins!

Thank you,

Jane Sooby
technical program coordinator
Organic Farming Research Foundation

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