Lecture by Alan Chadwick in Saratoga, May 16, 1972
Lecture 3, Part 3.5
An Introduction to Alan Chadwick's Lectures and a Glossary of Terms
The full text of this lecture segment
Contents of this Segment:
Geographic differences in fertilizations; Leaf mold; Oak leaf mold is best, then beech, then most deciduous trees; Leaves not to use as leaf mold; Calcium; Bone meal; Oyster shell.
Villa Montalvo Lecture Series
Saratoga, California, 1972, Lecture 3,
Fertilization, Part 5
There, it is as much as twenty yards deep on the coast, in places where sea-birds have lived for thousands of years, and congregated and just done their droppings. And they just sent the ships, and went with boats, and they took it all aboard, and sold it all over the world at very high prices. As a boy, amongst gardeners, I grew with it, and learned to know its enormous attributes.
Now, the interesting matter about this is that it refers again to the cycles that exist in everything. That you could go to one area of a coast, Northern or Southern Hemisphere, and another, and another, and another, and another, and all of these would have totally different qualities. Just as you will get cow manure, and pig manure, and sheep manure, and goat manure, and they will all have different qualities according to the cycle of their area, and what grows in that area, and the air of that area, and even, to some degree, the happiness of that area.
Now, the Humboldt Current (which most people, extraordinarily, seem to imagine runs from Alaska southward), runs from the Southern Hemisphere, upwards, towards the Equator. And it runs off the coast of Chile, right up there by Santiago and upwards. And it causes a flow of air current as well, and it is a cold current. It’s the third cold current of the world. And because of this current, it brings with it oceanic food matters that are three times more vital than any other oceanic food matters. And therefore the fish, living in that current, in that area, are three times more vital in what they eat: the fish, and the matters of algae, and so on. And because of that, what they drop on the rocks is three times more vital. And the very guano from Chile is three times more vital than any guano from any other rocks. And this is all attributed to this matter of this Humboldt Current and the cycle of vitality. It’s a cycle, and a very interesting procedure. I mention it because of the fascination matter, and there is, I promise you, no argument about that as a fact. Therefore, you can assess that guanos come very close to the top of manures.
Leaf molds, as a fertilizer: We discussed the areas of how to collect leaf molds very briefly. In other words, in the spring, the leaves of the fall can be used as rough-leaf. Under that is a strata of one-year leaf mold. Under that is mold, made by leaves and sticks. In ratio of value, the Oak leaves all other sitting completely. There is nothing equivalent to Oak. Next to it, and you could say, half-way down the chart, comes Beech. Again, nothing near it again. After that, a huge bunch of most of the deciduous. And after that, a few of the evergreens, but not many. And negative, negative, are these: Camphor, Bay, Holly, Eucalyptus, Pine, and Balsam Poplar.
Now those are all... Nothing is totally injurious, naturally, but most of them are injurious to plant growth that we’re referring to. On the contrary, you realize that Pine will, in time, make a perfectly good compost for anything. And, of course, it is entirely applicable to Rhododendron, Azalea, Magnolia, and Raspberry. Pine: Pine needle of any sort. But, to other plants it is injurious because of the turpentine. I dislike using words… "Turpentine" doesn’t mean a sausage, you see, actually, and therefore it’s stupid. But it’s the only way one can describe what’s wrong with it.
Calciums: Bone meal. And, note, an extraordinary thing with man today. He has to do something to something in order to make some more money by doing it. Bone meal used to be just pulverized bones, from the abattoir. They weren't satisfied with that, and somebody complained that there was a slight smell about it. It’s a law now, that it’s got to be cooked before it’s sold. It has to be steamed, or cooked. Two-thirds of its value has gone. I am going to bring next time, a book called “Lucas, Nature’s Medicines”. In this book, which is a brilliant piece of work, and is absolutely genuine, it’s supported entirely, by the, even the scientific, medical faculty. And that’s saying a good deal. In that book are the addresses, throughout America, of where you can get real stuff. I mean bone meal, unfired, unsteamed. And the addresses are in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and so on and so on. So I will bring this book, and those addresses are in there. It also has a huge fund of knowledge, and is a really very valuable book on herbs... I mustn’t take up too much time with sidelines.
Bone meal: Oystershell. Oystershell is a huge calcium giver, and we’re inclined to overlook the fact that the stratifications in the soil are an enormous amount, in the world of growing, from marine deposits. And such plants as all Carnations, the Dianthus… The original Dianthus is a plant which only grows on marine cliffs. And it’s still got the same characteristic, of course. It doesn’t matter what you do to it with your cultures and your imagination. It still is attributed to its ancient parents, which always grew on marine cliffs. In other words, where shell, calcium shell was deposited in huge quantities. And you will find if you give oyster shell to your Carnations, you will...