Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Gerard Smith's Organic Surface Cultivations


There's gremlins in the machine and I'm having trouble leaving comments, so I thought I'd do a posting on the great man in response to the interest shown on Edith Hope's Garden Journal, which everyone should visit.
He would have approved of her PRB maxim,"Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty, that is all ye know on earth and all ye need to know." He loved truth and trusted to obsevation and experience rather than blindly following received wisdom. A champion of organic methods, he was not afraid to speak out against agribusiness at a time when this was seen as almost treacherous. He describes them as "A vast, well-organised trade leaches money from the pockets of the unwary, the fertiliser trade being second only to the drug trade in the variety of useless rubbish sold at high prices."
He was however no mere ranter. His book is a wealth of practical advice, leavened throughout with dry wit and fascinating information - "In one gramme of manured arable soil there is
4,000,000,000 bacteria
1,000,000 protozoa
280,000 amoeba
770,000 flagellates
1,000 ciliates
100,000 algae.
One is sorry for the poor lonely ciliates."
He had a tongue that could cut cloth, and though perhaps tactless, he was never unkind and always encouraging. I can only echo his sentiments and attest that he succeeded - "To be a gardener when beliefs and prejudices are in the melting pot is a privelege. May the change come before I am too old to take a hand in helping other gardeners to take advantage of the changes."
Thank you, Mr. Smith, you were indeed part of the solution.
All quotes from "Organic Surface Cultivation" by N. Gerard Smith F.R.H.S, Ward, Lock & Co.,1950

5 comments:

The Idiot Gardener said...

Never heard of him. That's another book I'm going to have to buy now!

Edith Hope said...

Dear Isobel, What a wonderful, absolutely first class posting [and not on account of the generous mention you give to me, for which many thanks]. This is s superb piece of writing which is both flowing and informative. I am learning so much which is new to me through your site. Like IG, I shall go in search of Mr. Smith.

"He had a tongue....encouraging" is SO well put. I shall look forward to more!

Is the Wiz said...

Dear Idiot, it may however be the only one you'll ever need. Got my copy for 50p in Oxfam, but I believe there are specialist dealers out there who'll happily charge an arm and a leg. This would really go against the grain, as it's subtitled "How to obtain bumper crops with the least effort and expense".Might you know someone who could republish it?(Hint,hint)

Is the Wiz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Is the Wiz said...

Dear Edith, Wow. Can only assume it's by osmosis.Thank you, lots of love,Is.