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History of organic fertilizers

History of organic fertilizers

In recent years, organic fertilizers have begun to attract the increasing attention of farmers from underdeveloped countries, as they help to obtain a higher level of the yield without applying pesticides and other artificial fertilizers that adversely affect the quality of finished products.

The gardening practice based on organic fertilizers helps to improve the soil composition and allows the plant to comfortably develop, supplying it with all necessary nutrients.

The major part of inhabitants does not think about the fact that organic fertilizers appeared quite a long time ago, and not during the past decade. The history of the organic fertilizer appearance extends back with no fewer than several millennia.

In the ancient manuscripts of Japan, Korea and China dating back several centuries BC, the mention is made of applying fertilizers for the soil; at that time, these were droppings of livestock, birds, various animals and even human fecal materials.

Inhabitants of Ancient Egypt also applied fertilizers, which were obtained by them in a natural way on the shores of the Nile, during the freshet of which the soil was moistened and saturated with silt. This served as the main constant source of organic fertilizers significantly increasing the fertility of such arid soils.

Mesopotamia can also boast the use of river mud and peat-silt as fertilizers for agricultural lands.

The ancient Greeks or Hellenes advanced the furthest in this area. Theophrastus from Eresos, famous botanist and ecologist in those distant days, describes in his works the need for fertilizing the soil in the cultivation of vegetable crops and, of course, wheat.

In his writings, we find already more detailed descriptions and information with regard to features of organic fertilizers and, certainly, methods of their application.

Columella is a great agronomist and scientist of the Roman Empire, who lived in the first century of our era. It is he who wrote the first treatise “On Agriculture”, in which he describes the classification of natural fertilizers. At that time, he did a tremendous amount of work, having summarized all the accumulated centuries-long experience of the Roman Empire.

Columella divided fertilizers into five types:

  • compost
  • manure
  • fertilization with soil
  • green fertilizers
  • mineral fertilizers.

According to the author, the best fertilizer is manure. It was this product he gave the special profile in his book.

During the period of feudalism in Western Europe, namely between the 11th and 13th centuries, one launched the beginning to the active expansion of planting acreages, which at times were of little suitability for these purposes due to the high degree of peat formation. The peasants were imposed on the duty to export manure to the field of their master, thereby ameliorating physical properties of the soil and, accordingly, improving its yields.

Unfortunately, with the development of industry, the level of applying pesticides and other fertilizers harmful to health and the environment has increased. These fertilizers enlarged the amount of the product obtained, but killed the quite important humus layer, impoverishing the fertility of the soil. As a result, the world is gradually approaching the ecological catastrophe, which will also cause the food crisis.

Only ecologically clean fertilizers can remedy such a difficult situation in the world and spare many problems in the future. Organic fertilizers are able to replenish and restore the humus layer, and to increase the amount of nutrients as well as the soil structure.

The experience of the developed countries shows that the higher the level of their development, the more attention is paid to using, in particular, organic fertilizers, to which the main role in this process is allotted.