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Born from the Bomb

With the detonation of atomic bombs over Nagasaki and Hiroshima in 1945, the world lurched uncertainly into an Atomic Age.  So did the garden.  Though there had been some investigations into radiative effects and induced mutations of plant material prior to 1945, the bomb beget both official government research and wide public interest.

The belief that atomic radiation might create super plants now seems counterintuitive.  It is difficult to trace to a single source, but may have arisen through reports such as this one from 1947, in which plants grown in the “atom-blasted” soil at Nagasaki were recorded as being double in size, and reportedly the “crop yield today from land at blast center is twice that from normal soil.”

1947 news report of “superplants” grown in “atom-blasted” soil at Nagasaki after the bomb.

Both the “atom-blasted” reference and the comparison between atomic and non-atomic plants would be echoed in the efforts of atomic entrepreneur C.J. Speas to market his “atom-blasted” seeds nearly fifteen years later.

New Gardening Experience! The Atom-Blasted Seeds of C.J. Speas

 

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