The Poverty of the Soil
Nitrogen and its Relation to Plants
Plant roots are constantly taking nitrogen and its compounds from the soil. If crops which grow from the soil are removed year after year, the soil becomes poorer in nitrogen, and finally possesses too little of it to support vigorous and healthy plant life. The nitrogen of the soil can be restored if we add to it a fertilizer containing nitrogen compounds which are soluble in water. Decayed vegetable matter contains large quantities of nitrogen compounds, and hence if decayed vegetation is placed upon soil or is plowed into soil, it acts as a fertilizer, returning to the soil what was taken from it. Since man and all other animals subsist upon plants, their bodies likewise contain nitrogenous substances, and hence manure and waste animal matter is valuable as a fertilizer or soil restorer.