National Geographic : 1911 Apr
Photos by Allerton S. Cushman THE EFFECTIVENESS OF GROUND FELDSPAR AS A POTASH FERTILIZER Comparison of tobacco seedlings, six weeks old, grown in sand mixed with ground feldspar, but containing no other potash (shown in upper photograph), with plants of same age grown in rich garden soil, which contains an adequate supply of soluble potash (shown in lower photograph). Dr. Cushman emphasizes the fact that this experiment was under most favorable green-house conditions and is not to be taken as applicable to field practice. The showing is, however, significant. and thus forestall the possibility of an American potash monopoly. While the outlook for the early de velopment of an American potash sup ply, and consequent relief for the farm ers, is, on the whole, most promising, it is to be regretted that Congress did not provide for more extensive work by the Government. A $200,000 appropriation would have enabled the Geological Sur vey, for instance, to distribute ten or a dozen parties with deep-drilling outfits over the western country and to find the nitrate and the potash beds at once, rather than to spread the effort over a period of years, and finally make the dis covery after we have sent a quarter or a half a billion dollars to Germany and Chile. Nor would $50,000 have been too much to give the Secretary of Agri culture for exhaustive chemical investi gations in potash and to continue and expand the promising experiments al ready begun by his department.