Category Archive: Soils and Growing

Tiejens: Assimilation of Nitrogen




Plants absorb ammonium and nitrate nitrogen in varying quantities,
depending partly on the rate of assimilation2 of either ion in the plant.
That certain specific conditions are necessary for the most efficient assimilation
of either form of nitrogen has been pointed out (40). Different species
vary in the efficiency with which they utilize the nitrate or ammonium ion
under a given set of conditions (29). The hypothesis that both ions probably
are finally utilized as ammonium, even though external requirements
may be different, involves an interesting study, a preliminary report of
which has been published (40). A continuation of these studies has established
certain relationships affecting the assimilation of nitrate and ammonium
nitrogen. Such factors as hydrogen-ion concentration and available
carbohydrates have a direct bearing on the assimilatory processes.
That these relationships vary with the source of nitrogen, and that the
location of the initial assimilatory processes varies with the type of plant,
will be pointed out.

Tiejens: Available Calcium and Salt Balance

Article by Tiedjens



By Victor A. Tiejens and L. G. Schermerhorn

Foth and Ellis: Soil Fertility

Soil Fertility by Henry D. Foth and Boyd G. Ellis

This book is a hard-to-find item because it is out of print. It provides perhaps the simplest explanations around for the basic science behind soil advising. To make much use of this book does require remembering the basics from high school inorganic chemistry.





This book has been written to serve as a text for a soil fertility course at the
j u n i o r – s e n i o r level and at the master’s level for students who have had an
introductory course in soil science and several basic science courses. We
have chosen to cover the most essential topics and not produce an all-inclusive
text to serve as a reference book. T h e treatment is an evolutionary one
which considers soils as dynamic, ever-changing bodies.
There has been major progress over the past three decades in the
accumulation of new knowledge and development of theories in the fields
of soil science, agronomy, plant physiology, and plant nutrition. Thus, the
production of this book has been an exciting challenge to integrate the most
recent information about soil fertility with the knowledge and theories
about weathering and soil evolution, mineralogy, exchange chemistry, soil
taxonomy, fertilizer technology, and plant growth and nutrition.
Soils are one of the world’s most important resources. We hope that
the information put forth in this book will help to increase the food supply
for the world’s expanding population.
We extend our special thanks to Mary Foth for the graphic art work
and to Nate Rufe for photographing the mineral models.
Henry D. Foth
Boyd G. Ellis
East Lansing, Michigan
June 1988

Whitlark: Soil Testing Procedures for Calcareous Soils

An excellent article on testing calcareous soils by Brian Whitlark


Soil Testing Procedures for Calcareous Soils

“Well-established soil testing methods on soils containing calcium carbonate or
gypsum often underestimate fertilizer and soil amendment requirements.”

Weaver – Root Developments of Vegetable Crops

By John E. Weaver
Professor of Plant Ecology, University of Nebraska
William E. Bruner
Instructor in Botany, University of Nebraska


“The plant is the most important agent in crop production. Soils, cultivation,
fertilizers, irrigation, and other factors, in a sense, are all more or less subsidiary.
Soils are modified by cultivation, by adding manure or other fertilizers, by drainage or
irrigation, and in other ways with the express purpose of changing the environment so
as to stimulate plants to increased productivity. Hence, it is not surprising that from
time immemorial extended observations and, later, experiments have been made upon
the aerial growth of crops under varying conditions. In fact an almost bewildering
array of literature has resulted. But quite the converse is true of the underground parts.
The root development of vegetable crops has received relatively little attention, and
indeed accurate information is rarely to be found. The roots of plants are the least
known, least understood, and least appreciated part of the plant. This is undoubtedly
due to the fact that they are effectually hidden from sight. Notwithstanding the
extreme difficulty and tediousness of laying the roots bare for study, it is not only
remarkable but also extremely unfortunate that such investigations have been so long

Albrecht: Soil Fertility and Animal Health

Soil Fertility and Animal Health

By William A. Albrecht,

Published by the author, 1958. Public Domain material.

”       “All flesh is grass,” were the words by which a prophetic pre-
Christian scholar revealed his vision of how the soil, by growing the
crops, can serve in creating animals and man. It duplicates to a
fairly good degree any concepts we have even now of the many
natural performances in the assembly line which starts with the soil
to give what we call agricultural production. We know that the soil
grows grass; that the grass feeds our livestock; and that these
animals, in turn as meats, are our choice protein foods. Along the
same thought line we may well consider the geological, the
chemical, the biochemical and the biological performances by
which the numerous streams of life take off from the soil and
continue to flow through the many healthy species of plants and
animals. We can, therefore, connect our soil with our health via
nutrition. Since only the soil fertility, or that part of the soil made up
of the elements essential for life, enters into the nutrition by which
we are fed, we may well speak of animal health as premised on the
soil fertility.”

Kline: Soil Analysis and Sustainable Agriculture





“Below is the text of a speech I (GK) recently gave to the Nutrient Management Class at the Evergreen State College. I thought perhaps my readers would find it interesting as well as informative.”

Presentation to the Nutrient Management Class

at The Evergreen State College, May 16, 2012

by Gary Kline

“I decided to title my presentation “Soil Analysis and Sustainable Agriculture”. As for my philosophy on
achieving and maintaining soil fertility, I will point out that it is a borrowed philosophy from some
giants of alternative agriculture. Very little is original with me, and I don’t profess to have any special
knowledge. I do consider this to be the most important subject in the world. I am a convert from
conventional organics to a particular brand of Ecological Agriculture which may be very different from
what colleges teach under that banner, and I am simply a messenger on a mission. However, I did
create a name for what I preach about, and that name is Mineral-Augmented Organics, which goes way
beyond regular organics, and the distinction centers on the word “mineral”.  ”


Tiejens: More Food From Soil Sciences

More Food From Soil Science

by V. A. Tiejens

“JESUS’ FEEDING the Philistines with five loaves of bread and two
fishes was considered a miracle. If the Bible is true to facts, this
gives us something to think about. However, to grow 200 bushels
of corn where only 65 bushels grew before is no less a miracle,
because it means that we can feed three times as many people.
This yield can mean life or death for millions of earth’s inhabitants,
and can postpone the day of reckoning for several generations.”


Tiejens: Olena Farm, U.S.A. An Agricultural Success Story

Olena Farm, U.S.A. An Agricultural Success Story

By V. A. Tiejens


“At the northeast corner of Murray Road and U.S. routes 250
and 13, one half mile south of Olena, Ohio, lie sixty-eight acres
of what experts call submarginal land and about which the
neighbors say “Too poor to farm.” My friends say, “The land
should be good for something,” while my associates call it a
“challenge to your ability and vision.” For my purpose, it is ideal.
I wanted the poorest farm I could find, a farm so poor that the
average agronomist—with all his knowledge—would starve to
death on it.”

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