I often leaf through the some of the old magazines we inherited when we bought Les Fragnes. La Prosperité à la Campagne is one of my favourites. We have issues dating from 1932 and 1933.

In the July 1932 issue, I came across an article on electroculture – electric gardening basically! It looked very persuasive. The article explained how large metal aerials pick up magnetic and electric currents from the air and channel them into the soil where, by transforming the elements in the soil, they accelerate plant growth and development. Electroculture became popular in the 18th century, but the idea behind it goes back a long way. In the 9th and 10th centuries, people stuck metal poles in their fields, possibly as some kind of protection against lightning strikes. Better crop production was a lucky side-effect. Anyway, it developed from there, and had a lot of support in the past. In 1912 there was a huge conference about it at Reims, attended by Belgians, Hungarians, Russians and Mexicans, to name a few of the nationalities represented. The future of electroculture looked bright, so much so that fertiliser merchants were beginning to get worried. But for whatever reason, it didn’t take off to the extent anticipated.

I googled ‘electroculture’ and discovered that it is still practised today. There are companies that will supply you with everything you need to get going (such as www.agriculturecosmotellurique.org/). The ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos on that page are very impressive.

The main equipment is the aerial. Here’s a picture of one from the website – my magazines didn’t include any illustrations sadly:

Am I tempted? I think I’ll wait and see how my gardening with the moon turns out first …