Category: Soils and Growing

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.”

Tiedjens: 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.”


Tiedjens: 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.”