Thursday, January 05, 2006

In 1794

On January 4th in 1794, was born Edward Ruffin the father of soil chemistry in the U.S., who showed how to restore fertility to depleted soil. Though without formal science education, Ruffin determined that the soil of southeast plantations that had been overused with single-crop production had become more acidic and unable to benefit from fertilizers. The remedy he published (1818) was the spreading of marl to neutralize the acidity. He went further by specifying effective methods of fertilizing, plowing and rotating crops to increase production of grains. He expanded his recommendations in book and journal article form, as well as lecturing up to the 1850's. He then became an outspoken secessionist, and took his own life upon the South losing in the Civil War, at least when he learned of it on June 18, 1865.

Today in Science History

Adapted from a post at XDA blog by Roger Fraley.

This would be a good addition to soil science articles in wikipedia.

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1 comment:

Roger Fraley said...

Thanks for the link. I have to admit that your field is about the last science speciality I think about but certainly you all are doing something right in that productivity in intensively farmed fields hasn't fallen but has increased. Good job!