This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V28", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
In the February number of the Monthly Mr. J. A. Price, Scranton, Pa., says "he believes that coal dust will make an excellent fertilizer." And so do I. General as the belief has previously been that coal dust and coal ashes was worthless rubbish, and of no possible good in the garden or field where vegetables are cultivated, and would be better hauled away to fill up an unsightly hole somewhere or repair the roads with, seems at last has been proved a common error.
Of course it was admitted that its mechanical action only upon heavy clayey soils might be as beneficial as so much coarse river sand would be, yet it was very doubtful if it possessed any other value. And I confess that for many years I entertained a similar opinion, and would have willingly allowed anyone to have removed it as a nuisance glad to get rid of. Although we may long remain mistaken about many matters, sooner or later "time discloses all things," and even the virtue of coal dust and ashes has at last been discovered, and through the pages of this magazine made known to all good men.
Late experiments have proved to me that either on light friable loam or sandy land, even as sandy as much of New Jersey soil is, it is one of the best fertilizers I ever used. Wherever it was freely applied, either in the vegetable or flower garden, its beneficial effects were remarkable. Carrots, turnips and parsnips seemed to delight in it; while peas, beans, salsify and beets appeared to glory in it; and for such like things as potatoes, onions and tomatoes, why they, like "Pardoe's pig, grew fat and big " among it. And, talk of the flowers, that tasted it, oh, " such beauties they did grow," and did indeed "astonish the Browns" when passing by. Mount Holly, N. J.