Use of green manures & cover crops for the south
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The problem of restoring the fertility to the worn soils and of maintaining that of the new or fresh soils is perhaps the most serious one with which the farmers of the cotton states are confronted. It is indeed unfortunate that the usual methods and practices of cotton farming tend to rapidly wear out and destroy the fertility of the soil, and before we can be safe and permanently prosperous in farming, our methods and practices must be such as to result in increasing the productiveness of our soils. The original fertility of a soil is dependent upon two things, viz: its natural strength and its physical condition. The first of these - the natural strength, is determined by the readiness with which the insoluble plant food in a soil becomes available by natural agencies, and the length of time this availability will continue. While the physical condition is dependent upon such properties as favor the growth and development of plant roots and the acquisition by these of the available plant food in the soil. The natural strength of a soil may be practically exhaustible and at the same time the fertility of the soil very low, on account of its poor physical condition. And a good soil in a good physical condition easily reduced to one of poor condition by improper handling. This last is true of almost all of the soils of the South. There are few cultivated soils of this section that have not suffered a material loss of plant food, while their once favorable physical condition is changed to such an extent as to reduce their productiveness. It remains for succeeding farmers to restore the once favorable conditions of our soils, and gain for the South its deserved recognition as a fertile and productive region, or to continue the wasteful and exhaustive methods of the past and produce a section whose chief glory will rest in the legends of a once fertile soil. Nature, it would seem on the one hand with its warm climate, its abundant rainfall, its loose and broken soils, and its seemingly careless farmers, cate
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