oa Agricultural Journal of the Cape of Good Hope - The agricultural soils of Cape Colony

Volume 33, Issue 1
  • ISSN :



Van Helmont, three centuries ago, demonstrated, to his own satisfaction, that water was the sole source of plant food. Digby, fifty years later, ascribed the nutrition of plants to a mysterious principle in the air, and refused to consider water as anything more than a mere vehicle for the conveyance of this principle. Yet another half-century and both these theories were rejected by Tull, who put forth the view that the soil particles constituted all the nutriment that the plant needed. According to Liebig, not the organic, but the inorganic, or mineral constituents of the soil served to build up the vegetable structure.

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