In Edward Behr’s essay, “The Sweet Orange Carrot”, found between the covers of The Artful Eater we find a citation from Joseph Harris’ 1882 Gardening for Young and Old. We’ll take a little liberty with paraphrases and substitute for Mr. Harris’ “horses” our “cows”.
““The carrot is not a popular crop. Cows are very fond of carrots, but then they never had to weed them. It they had been obliged to get on their hands and knees, so to speak, with the sun on their backs, and had to weed and thin carrots, when Tom and Dick were gone fishing, they would have been satisfied with hay. Boys ought to know better than cows. (Still,) cows that cheerfully do all that we ask of them are entitled to a feed of fresh juicy carrots…””.
While our hands and knees tell us to know better it is that obligation to cheerful work which drives the provision of living vegetable fodders over the Months of Dormancy. But the obligation also goes to building high quality soils for high quality crops in the first. Here we’ll cite Sir Albert Howard in An Agricultural Testament, 1940, “Soil fertility is the condition which operates from the operation of Nature’s round, from the orderly revolution of the wheel of life, from the adoption and faithful execution of the first principle of agriculture- there must always be a perfect balance between the processes of growth and the processes of decay. The consequences of this condition are a living soil, abundant crops of good quality, and livestock which possess the bloom of health. The key to a fertile soil and a prosperous agriculture is humus.”