The inoculation of non-legumes
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The discovery of the importance of the inoculation of legume crops, such as clovers and alfalfa, some 40 years ago, in order to secure larger crops and increase the fertility of the soil, has led to many attempts to devise a culture which would bring about similar beneficial effects on non-legumes.
The first commercial culture, known as Alinit, appeared in 1895. It was supposed to increase the nitrogen content of the soil thru the introduction of free-living nitrogen fixing organisms and thus supply nitrogen for the better growth of all crops. It failed. Other cultures, appearing from time to time, have been claimed to introduce, not only these nitrogen-fixing organisms into the soil but also to supply all kinds of desirable microorganisms to stimulate the production of all available plant food constituents. Occasionally preparations have been put on the market, for use with individual non-legumes, such as the grain crops, presumably with the idea that if special cultures were needed for the various legumes, as has seemed to be the case generally, there should also be special cultures for non-legumes. Most of the cultures, however, have been designed to benefit all crops.