IS THE NUTRITION IN OUR CROPS DECLINING?
A SCIENTIST'S GUIDE TO AWESOME STUFF TO GROW
COPYRIGHT JAMES WONG 2016
TIN FOIL SHEETS STOKE THE FIRE OF CHILIES
A number of scientific studies have reported a marked reduction in the levels of some nutrients in a variety of major crops over the past 60 years.
In one pioneering British study, for example, researchers compared the mineral composition of grain harvested from one of the longest-running agricultural experiments in the world, The Broadbalk Wheat Experiment - that has been continuously growing grain in the same field for over 160 years. They noted that while between 1846 and the mid 1960's the zinc, iron, copper and magnesium remained stable, since that period each of these minerals have shown significant decreases. This fall coincided with the introduction of new high-yielding cultivars.
A similar US study published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture sought to compare older, low-yielding wheat cultivars with more productive modern hybrids, by growing them along side each other. Echoing the British findings, their results also concluded that the minerals iron, zinc & selenium also had seen a reduction following the introduction of modern, higher yielding varieties.
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This trend has been further echoed in three different recent studies which compared historical nutritional composition data for a wide range of fruits and vegetables both in the UK and North America. According to this research, fresh produce on both sides of the Atlantic appeared to show a marked drop in some (but not all) of their major nutrients between the 1930's and 1980's of between 5% to 40%. According to one small Canadian study, for example, you would have to eat eight oranges today to get the same amount of Vitamin A as just one orange in the 1950s.
THE GOOD NEWS
Fortunately in recent years hundreds of trials have been carried out around the world which could help address this issue. In fact, us plant geeks have amassed a huge amount of knowledge on how to significantly boost both crop nutrition and flavour, much of which are directly applicable to even the most tiny back garden. Freed from the need to maximise yield, extend shelf life and pull off the horticultural miracle of producing crops out of season, homegrowers armed with this information are arguably in the best possible position to create truly jaw droppingly tasty harvests & this book is designed to show you how to do just that.
AN EXTRACT FROM 'RHS GROW FOR FLAVOUR" PUBLISHED BY MITCHELL BEAZLEY
LONDON & SOUTH EAST