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p-fertilizer-msg - 12/23/06


Use and composition of period fertilizers.


NOTE: See also the files: fish-msg, p-agriculture-bib, p-agriculture-msg, gardening-bks-bib, gardens-msg, A-Med-Garden-art, gardening-bib.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



Date: Tue, 13 Dec 2005 13:10:53 +0100

From: Volker Bach <carlton_bach at yahoo.de>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] planting fish

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


Am Dienstag, 13. Dezember 2005 08:17 schrieb Stefan li Rous:

> Urtatim commented:

>>> Salmon is vegetarian?????


> My thoughts exactly. Last time i looked, one could not plant a fish

> in a garden (unless it had a pond)

> <<<


> Well, yes you can. It's just that the yield is usually zero, at least

> as far as new fish is concerned.


> Wasn't one of the tricks that the American Natives taught the

> European immigrants to put a fish in with the maize seed when they

> planted it? Or is that another one of those urban legends?


I don't know if it was the Indians, but fish can be used as fertilizer on bad

soil and was, in New England. Before railway transportation, some

Scandinavian communities did that, too. I'm told it stinks to high heaven,

but then, in North Germany they used peat sods enriched over the winter with

cattle urine and manure. I don't know which I'd prefer.





Date: Tue, 13 Dec 2005 14:29:14 -0600

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] planting fish

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


Using fish, seaweed, manure or other decaying organic matter as fertilizer

started sometime in the late Neolithic and is a common practice in many

agrarian societies.  The particular organic matter depends on what is most

available. Even today, we use fertilizers based on fish, seaweed, manure

and peat.  The primary difference is we process the basic ingredients into

to forms that are easier to use and may produce greater benefit faster.


Fertilization reduces the need to move agrarian communities to new farmland,

as occurs with slash and burn practices, and permits the growth of large

stable societies.


For the Eastern tribes, fish was a readily available fertilizer, so fish got

planted with the seeds.  An additional point is it was common practice to

plant maize, squash and beans together in mounds where the plants could

support each other physically and nutritionally.  The method is referred to

as the Three Sisters and is a forerunner to today's methods of companion



And just to assure you that fish fertilizer is not a legend, here is an

excerpt from a letter from one E.W. of Plymouth to a friend in London:


"We set the last spring some twenty acres of Indian corn, and sowed some six

acres of barley and peas, and according to the manner of the Indians, we

manured our ground with herrings or rather shads, which we have in great



"A Relation or Journal of the Beginning and Proceeding of the English

Plantation Settled at Plymouth", London, 1622.





Date: Tue, 13 Dec 2005 21:21:25 -0600

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] planting fish

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


> Fish is the original organic fertilizer, very good for almost all  

> crops. Rich in amino acids and B vitamins.

> Selene


A little better reason is that fish (and seaweed) produce a fair amount of

nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus when the decay.





Date: Fri, 16 Dec 2005 21:55:13 -0600

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] planting fish

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


> You mention that "even today we use fertilizers based on fish,

> seaweed...". Is this in the industrial countries like the U.S. or  

> do you just mean in the third-world and developing countries?


> Stefan


Organic fertilizers are specialty items commonly used by specialty or

organic farmers.  For the average business, lower cost chemical  

fertilizers are the ticket.


Most third world countries use either chemical fertilizers or some form of

dung. The reason the Eastern Amerinds used fish was that they had digging

sticks rather than plows.  It is difficult to work dung into the soil

without a plow.  BTW, the plow came into use around 3000 BCE and is the

invention that marks the beginning of extensive use of fertilizers.




<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org