BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

18 June 2014
Accessibility help
Text only
Legacies - Guernsey

BBC Homepage
 UK Index
Your stories
 Site Info
 BBC History
 Where I Live

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!

Soil steaming c 1918
© The Peter Brehaut Collection
Cooking the earth

Between October and Christmas of each year, a visitor to Guernsey during the 20th Century might have noticed a strange, “nutty” smell in the air. This, in fact, was the smell of “cooked earth”, and the product of soil steaming - the process used by local tomato growers to sterilise the soil between crops. Local men worked round the clock, piping steam through the soil to kill any soil-borne diseases. This was back-breaking work, and yet what to us in this high-tech age might seem a relatively primitive method of sterilisation, was actually carried on until the late 1970s. The pungent smell of steamed earth brings memories of this bygone era flooding back for many islanders, who still remember the “Guernsey Tom” with affection. More...

Read More Picture Gallery

Your comments

Print this page
Look back into the past using the Legacies' archives. Find nearly 200 tales from around the country in our collection.

Read more >
Internet Links
Guernsey horticulture
Priaulx Library
History of Guernsey horticulture
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Web sites.
Related Stories
The future of Sheffield’s Little Mesters
The Whixall Moss Gang
"Hell-raising" nailers in Belper

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy