Agreeably to the request of the members of the Blyth Farmers’ Club, at a meeting held on the 5th of June last, I undertook certain experiments and investigations on the soils furnished to me by Mr. Beavor, of Barnby Moor, with reference to the cause of the failure of the red clover crop. I submitted these soils to a minute chemical analysis, so as to ascertain accurately the constituents of each. I exposed them to the action of the atmosphere, to ascertain the amount of disintegration; and with a careful analysis of the red clover plant itself, I trust I am now in a position to point out to you the true cause of this hitherto mysterious failure.
You are fully aware that all plants are composed of elementary substances arranged in various ways, so as to form their leaves, stems, and juices,—what these elements are, and how much is contained in a given weight of produce, we can easily ascertain by chemical analysis; and as we know positively that plants have not the power of creating one of these elements themselves, they must be derived from the media in which they live, namely, the air and the soil. This air and soil, then, must contain all the constituents we find in plants, in such a form as they can easily absorb them by their roots, otherwise they can never come to perfection; for observation and experiment have taught us, that the absence of any one of the constituents ...
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