Early Farmers and Manure: Stone Age Europeans Were More Advanced Than We Thought

Early farmers knew that  cows, pigs, and sheep produce manure that can be used as slow-release fertilizer. Photographer Mirrowmere

The use of manure as a slow release fertilizer may go back as far back as 6000 BC, at the dawn of agriculture. The use of a long term fertilizer implies social stability, where farmers and their families occupy the same land for generations. It reflects an investment in land.

Early Horticulture of Benedictines and Cistercians

Medieval monks had herb- and flower gardens like this one in an old abbey in France. Gardens provided medicinal herbs, food, and flowers for the altar. Image by Sternsunden.

Both Benedictine monks and Cistercians gardened and farmed, but the emphasis was different. The monks nurtured the land of Europe, and produced things such as cheese and beer. Many of their products are still with us.