Jocelyn was the son of Major L.H. Chase who formed the company in 1912 – apparently he started making glass and wire cloches to protect his lettuces from the industrial grime that existed during that era. His cloches successfully protected his crops from the pollution as well as improving growth and the cloches became a commercial success. Jocelyn took over the company during the second world war when his father died following which it is claimed that Loftus Tottenham, one of the co-directors of Chase, came up with the famous ‘Dig for Victory’ slogan. Through Jocelyn’s innovations and hard work, the company expanded rapidly over the next two decades, employing hundreds of workers, with ventures into market gardening, trial grounds, seed cultivation and the increased manufacture of cloches.
Chase soon acquired large areas of land around Chertsey including half of the high street! Jocelyn sat on the early councils for the Soil Association and organic methods of horticulture were applied throughout the business with composting holding the utmost importance. Composting became a crucial element for successful growing with the cloches since Jocelyn worked out that compost would improve water retention in soils and allow lateral movement of water through the soil to the plants undercover so that the cloches need not be lifted for watering.
The method hinges upon the use of a herbal activator made from a combination of 6 common herbs and honey. The inventor of the QR method, Maye E Bruce, was one of the founder members of the Soil Association and over the years the relationship between Chase and QR composting grew. In 1947, with the permission of Miss Bruce, Chase began manufacture of the QR activator powder and they are still making it to this day. Composting and cloches had become perfect partners.
Through my own experiences I have found that hop manure (uncomposted) and compost are also excellent partners providing excellent fertility and can increase soil temperature when they are mixed and added to the soil creating a ‘hot bed’ effect (certainly very good for growing pumpkins and tomatoes).This useful reaction would be further enhanced by the placing of cloches over the hot bed area.This could be useful in spring and autumn for strawberry growing perhaps but may cause overheating in soils during mid summer.
Should you wish to read further about QR composting or the Chase ‘organic empire’ then I suggest you obtain a copy of my book ‘Quick Return Compost Making – The Essence of the Sustainable Organic Garden’ Written to raise awareness of this marvellous and easy to use method of composting, the book provides precise and full instructions along with an insight into its history and its remarkable inventor.
This book is an excellent aid for the gardener who strives to achieve a successful and sustainable organic garden.
Available online from www.qrcompostingsolutions.co.uk or by phoning Andrew on 01434 672594