13. The Indore Process and its Reception by the Farming and Gardening Worlds
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13 THE INDORE PROCESS AND ITS RECEPTION BY THE FARMING AND GARDENING WORLDS THE SYSTEM of composting which I adopted, known as the Indore Process , has already been fully set forth in 1931 and 1940 in two previous books: 1 the detailed description will, therefore, not be repeated here. For those who are not familiar with these accounts it may be briefly stated that the process amounts to the collection and admixture of vegetable and animal wastes off the area farmed into heaps or pits, kept at a degree of moisture resembling that of a squeezed-out sponge, turned, and emerging finally at the end of a period of three months as a rich, crumbling compost, containing a wealth of plant nutrients and organisms essential for growth_ Sufficient time has now elapsed since the publications referred to above to permit of a summary of the history and reception of the process . The review is of interest. Time has sorted out essentials. It has brought no fundamental modification of any kind, but has shown the way to some simplifications which make the process easier both for the large plantation and for the small cultivator; it has indicated where further research and experiment could very advantageously be directed, and it has, above all, provided an interesting example of the way in which a new presentation of a very old and well-tried idea has been warmly accepted by the practical man and given a most unfortunate cold shouldering by the leaders of agricultural education and research. Compost is the old English word for decayed organic wastes prepared by the farmer or gardener. There are many ways of making compost and it is a fact that, even when very imperfectly prepared, a heap of decaying organic material will, in course of time, turn into compost of a 1 The Waste Products of Agriculture; Their Utilization as Humus (Oxford University Press, 1931). An Agricultural Testament (Oxford University Press, 1940). 211 sort. There must be in existence dozens of indigenous methods of reducing the waste materials of Nature to nourishment for the plant: almost any traveller from primitive countries could describe some example. These empiric methods vary a good deal, mostly by reason of the different types of material available for composting. Actually the basis is always the same, namely, to allow or induce microbial action by means of air and of moisture. It must never be forgotten that living organisms and not human beings are the agents which make compost. These organisms exist everywhere. They prepare the ideal humus on the floor of the forest and they equally govern what goes on in the compost heap from start to finish. The art of preparing compost amounts only to providing such conditions as will allow these agents to work with the greatest intensity, efficiency, and rapidity. The compost prepared by the Indore Process is like any other firstclass compost. The method involves no patents, no special materials have to be sent for, and there is nothing secret about it. It is as well to make these points clear at the outset, as of recent years, owing to the immense success which has attended my compost campaign, numerous innovations and copies have been placed on the market, mostly patented and frequently involving the purchase of inoculating cultures or plant extracts of secret manufacture. some even claiming to be based on esoteric knowledge of an advanced kind and so benefiting the health and happiness of the recipient. Some of these have been described as a mixture of muck and magic. The Indore Process makes no claim of this sort whatever. It merely copies Iwhat goes on on the floor of every wood and forest. It has not been patented and will not be patented, because it would not be in accordance with my principles to make monetary profits out of work paid for from governmental and trust funds. Such results should always be public property and at the disposal of all. The Indore Process is now used and known in England, Wales, Scotland , and Northern Ireland; Eire; the United States of America; Mexico ; Canada; Australia; New Zealand; South Africa; Rhodesia; Nyasaland ; Kenya; Tanganyika; West Africa; India; Ceylon; Malaya; Palestine ; the West Indies; Costa Rica; Guatemala; Chile; and by some of our armed forces. This list is constituted exclusively of countries from which I have directly received correspondence or official information. It is because the Indore Process accords with natural law that it is equally successful in whatever...