To New Master Gardeners: The 50 previous articles I have written for Garden Thyme cover a wide array of organic gardening topics and are posted on my website www.harmonygardens.blogspot.com If growing your own vegetables and organic gardening interests you, see me for details. I cover a lot of material in the 8-hour course that I teach on organic gardening. For more information, send me an email.
This year I will delve more deeply into topics that I have previously covered. Whatever the topic, I will try to be clear and straight forward. Here are some topics on my list for 2010: the soil food web, mycorrhizae and glomalin, humus and humic acid, diatomaceous earth, soil cation exchange capacity, and soil energy. Stay tuned.
Parachutes and Dots: “The mind is like a parachute. It only works when it is open.” It is easy to pass this saying off as applying to someone other than ourselves. To keep an open and stretched mind, I often look into unfamiliar topics. New knowledge on unfamiliar subjects can help to broaden provide a different perspective. It can also serve to help “connect the dots” on familiar topics. An appropriate topic in this mind-stretching vein is that of Biodynamic Gardening.
Biodynamic Gardening (BG): One common question is, “how does BG differ from organic gardening?” If we think of the original gardening practices, we could call them all “organic.” There were no refined chemicals, pesticides and GMOs. For eons the “organic” practices were the “conventional” practices.
The current, so called “conventional” practices (of the past 75 years), are really in their infancy and we are now seeing many changes away from them. Some say that the conventional gardening/farming of the past 75 years, with emphasis on use of refined chemicals, will go down in history as a short-term fad.
Despite the facts of the long term history in organics, today’s short-term orientation puts “organic gardening” as beginning in the 1940s with Rodale and others. It has never been considered a well-defined, single, procedural practice. It’s holistic and complex. It followed some of the practices of BG. Rudolf Steiner, considered the official originator of BG, gave his first lectures on the topic as early as 1912. In 1924, a group of farmers and others concerned with the depletion of soils, and deterioration in crops and livestock, asked Steiner what might be done. His 8 lectures, often called the Agriculture Course, addressed the uniquely healing, ecological, and spiritual approach to sustainable care of the earth.
BG centers on the garden or farm as a self-contained organism, embedded in the living landscape of the Earth, which itself is embedded in the energies of the cosmos. The BG practices embody integrating plants and animals, recycling nutrients, and working with the stars and seasons, as well as spiritual realities. The central core practices involve nine “homeopathic” preparations to enhance soil quality and stimulate plant life. Another mainstay in the program is the use of the Cosmic calendar, i.e. planting by the signs. I like the one called Stella*Natura, published by Kimberton Hills. Whether you use these techniques or not, you might just find them worthy of study. It might just help you in keeping your parachute open. Think of it as exercise – stretches for the mind.