This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V20", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
When the plant is in a natural state, the method of growth of the roots provide it with all necessary supplies. The rootlets, as has been said, lengthen at the extremities, and creep through all the little crevices and passages they can find, constantly taking new mouths to new food. In the soil of the garden subject to artificial difficulties, this is the reason why we keep the roots from being trampled on, and fork the borders to keep the soil open and free. Therefore also it is not good, except in particular cases, to use sifted earth, for it clogs hardly together, and therefore we often put brick rubbish and rough lumpy vegetable mould, or morsels of turf, that there may be sufficient passages for the roots; and here also is the reason of one of the most frequent disappointments to the amateur in moving plants. Some special plant is admired in a neighbor's garden, and a specimen is kindly bestowed; but who would offer a plant all loose earth? So, ac-cordingty, before it is papered up, the remnants of a ball are smoothed, and kneaded, and patted, till it is as tough as a ball of dough, and the root-fibers are tightly fixed in the mass. - Gardener's Chronicle.