A. Zillmer
The parents and ancestors of our cultivated plants at one time were all growing somewhere wild and free on this earth. They were feeling at home where they agreed with climate and soil. They were not growing everywhere. Then man selected wild plants, crossed and cultivated them. In the case of some cultivated plants it is difficult to still find any of their wild species in natural surroundings. The reason for this is that man has been cultivating these plants for some considerable time. It is often difficult to find any connection to their original form. In the case of the Vaccinium species BLUEBERRY, CRANBERRY and LINGONBERRY we are just at the beginning. There are more wild stocks than cultivated plants in existence. This is especially so in the case of the LINGONBERRY species. There growers and cultivators alike are in a fortunate position.

Amongst the wild stocks we have the best observation and test stations. We should always go there in order to watch and study the great instructor Nature and learn thereby. We could save many a mistake and avoid roundabout ways by watching and examining wild stocks more closely. Plants that have survived millennia ought to be questioned how they managed to do that. Cultivated plants are often short lived. Yet, we are learning for the future. Again and again we were instructed accordingly at school and by our parents.

Anyone concerned with the fertility of the earth will face great tasks in the future. Many types of soil are overfertilized. In addition, they are burdened by so-called plant protective agents and herbicides. Thus, the groundwater is affected, too. Maybe it is possible to switch over to virgin soil in America or Australia. In Europe there is hardly any such ground left. In Germany it has been our experience that blueberries get on best on barren land which has never been cultivated before. This is either healthy ground, wooded areas or moor land. Here we should more intensely examine the causes. Up till now these types of soil have been spared excessive quantities of fertilizers and salt. In these places the important and useful mycorrhyzal fungi are still alive and active. Preserving and caring for these mircoorganisms is almost all the fertilization required and represents nearly the only plant protection amongst Vaccinium.

People are getting more conscious of their environment. Nature is in vogue. Sound soil - sound food - sound human beings. Cultivators of Vaccinium have the easiest job of all plant cultivators to face and tackle these problems. People frequently say: We cannot entirely do without chemical aid. Why not? They should try at least. For millennia plants have managed without the use of chemical agents.

Zillmer, A. (1989). THOUGHTS ON THE NATURAL CULTIVATION OF VACCINIUM. Acta Hortic. 241, 263-264
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.1989.241.43

Acta Horticulturae