Our attention has been several times called to an article on this subject, which, it is said, has been copied extensively in the country papers and credited to tto SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, deprecating tlie use of night soij nfcfcfertilizer. We have no recollection that such an article eyejyipgeared in our columns, and do not know upon what grounds the objections were made ; and we deem it probable that a mistake has been made in referring the article to this journal, unless, indeed it was one of the numerous communications addressed to us, expressing views- lor which we do not hold ourselves responsible. The article referred to is said to have been published a long time since, and, after search, we are unable to find anything expressing the views which are attributed to us. We will say, however, now, as the question has an important bearing upon the earth-closet system, at present attracting much attention, that, in our opinion, a compost made of earth and night soil in the proper proportions, would prove a most valuable and concentrated fertilizer. This opinion is based.not only upon chemical considerations but upon experience and observation. We have used it on land devoted to flower and vegetable culture with the very best results. We have seen rose bushes, which have become old and unproductive, stimulated into the most luxuriant bloom by putting crude night soil, dipped from privy vaults, into a trench dug around them, at a little distance from their roots. The experiment has been repeated with peonies with the same results. All manures, however, used in this way, are apt to prove too heating, especially in a dry season. It is much better that fermentation should take place before these are applied to soils, where delicate plants are to be reared, unless they are used for forcing, when the additional heat is beneficial. We, for this reason, advocate for gardening purposes, the keeping of any compost, until it has well rotted before applying it to a garden ; but for grain or grass crops, plowed under in the spring, there could be no objection to its immediate use, and much of the ammonia which would be lost in the process of rotting would be thus saved. It will thus be seen, that instead of condemning the use of night soil as a fertilizer, we regard it with the highest favor, and we have based our disapproval of the water-closet system principally on the fact that it is a constant and enormous tax upon the country, through the great waste of this valuable fertilizer, depositing it in the beds of rivers to infect their waters, instead of restoring it to the land from which its constituents have been derived.
This article was originally published with the title "The Effects of Night Soil on Vegetation"