Industrializing Organisms: Introducing Evolutionary History by Philip Scranton, Susan Schrepfer

By Philip Scranton, Susan Schrepfer

First released in 2004. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa corporation.

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Extra info for Industrializing Organisms: Introducing Evolutionary History (Hagley Perspectives on Business and Culture)

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In his first few years he applied large quantities of “night soil” obtained from Jersey City scavengers, mixed it with stable manure, charcoal, sawdust, or any other easily obtained absorbent, then applied it at a rate of about thirty tons per acre. As the effectiveness of any one single fertilizer tended to decrease over time, Henderson experimented with nearly every imaginable source of industrial waste in the vicinity. Hops refuse from local sources such as Cox’s Brewery, Limbech & Betz’s Brewery, and the Palisade Brewery proved an excellent free fertilizer, although the brewers eventually realized its value and then charged market gardeners the cost of the best stable manure for their waste.

Further, plants grown under like conditions in identical pots facilitated the empirical selection of specimens offering better performance. Henderson, the plantsman and botanist, always possessed an eye for spotting superior plants. His definition of “superior,” of course, remained strongly entwined with market considerations. At the same time, such considerations often meant that plants meeting his approval enjoyed wide dispersion. As in the case of terracotta pots, Henderson made other capital investments with close attention to plant requirements and labor costs.

By 1890, his ten-acre complex contained nearly four acres of glass flanking either side of Randolph Avenue, which intersected the site. 45 Since a visit to the complex only entailed a short ferry ride across the Hudson River and a pleasant walk from the boat landing, many individuals visited his impressive grounds. They made their seed purchases with the knowledge that he planted those strains on his own acreage. In 1876 Henderson formed a new partnership with his son Alfred and his son-in-law James Reid, under the title Peter Henderson & Company, at Cortland Street in New York City.

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