This book is not a technical treatise and is designed only to point out the plain, every-day facts in the natural scheme of making and keeping soils productive. It is concerned with the crops, methods, and fertilizers that favor the soil.
here must be such selection of plants for this purpose that the organic matter will be rich in fertility, and at the same time their growth must fit into a scheme of crop production that can yield profit to the farmer. Soils produce plants primarily for their own needs. It is a provision of nature to maintain and increase their productive power. The land's share of its products is that part which is necessary to this purpose. Skill in farming provides for this demand of the soil while permitting the removal of a large amount of animal food within the crop-rotation. Lack of skill is responsible for the depleted condition of soils on a majority of our farms. The land's share of the vegetation it has produced has been taken from it in large measure, and no other organic matter has been given it in return. Its mineral store is left inert, and the moisture supply is left uncontrolled. Helplessness results.
Drainage.--Productive soils are in a condition to admit air freely. The presence of air in the soil is