||Karina Wells reports on her experiences at Emerson College
For me the course in Biodynamic Gardening at Emerson College, which was sponsored by the Millennium Awards Committee, was fantastic and life changing experience. Apart from the useful information, the clear, varied and concise lectures, the people I met were very inspiring and gave me a new impetus to help you all get the grips with organic and bio-dynamic gardening.
I wish to share with you a quote by J.W. von Goethe (1749-1832)
Until one is committed there is the chance to draw back; always ineffectiveness.
Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: - that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.
All sorts of things occur to help one that would not otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decisions, raising in ones favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would come his way.
Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it! Boldness has genius, magic and power in it. Begin it now!
I felt the above was very applicable to our project. Those who are committed are reaping the awards on all levels, physically, spiritually and of course the wonderful produce we are able to harvest day by day. None of this would have happened if you had not pushed yourselves through the cold and wet Winter, the windy and still wet Spring and now the hot but draining summer sun.
The question arose "What is the difference between Organic and Bio-dynamic gardening?"
Organic gardening means that it is free from insecticides, pesticides and herbicides and that no chemical fertilizers are used. Most people go for organics for what is doesnot contain.
Bio-dynamic gardening embraces the organic principles but acknowledges rhythms from the cosmos and uses substances which promotes these forces within the earth. We also carefully choose our time to do gardening activities. The timing depends on the constellations. You could say: BD gardeners look up to the heavens as well as to the earth and the organic gardening only looks down to the earth.
Lecture: Aspects of the Plant by Joan
Joan managed to explain some fairly difficult issues in a down to earth way. She started with the biography of a plant.
She recommended to look at anything in nature, but look at it in its whole environment. She said: "first look, then see". Use and develop your senses. When you come to the shared garden project, walk through the gardens, and observe, take a closer look and see the insects, the colours and the shapes. Plants are the sense organs of mother Earth. They will tell you what is going wrong, we just need to interpret.
She talked about the Community. What is means in the broader sense of the word.
Community = to give to the other in order that the other can receive and work together.
When a seed is put into the soil, it first goes into gravity. When "born" the plant seed is looked after by the soil community, it is "welcomed". This is why it is important that we look after what is happening in the soil and make it a hospitable place for worms, mycorrhiza and other organisms
When the plant has developed its roots, it will start to form its first two leaves, they are usually in the shape of a cup as if it is reaching up to receive the warmth of the sun.
Then the leaves will appear, they will reach out to the sky and are receiving messages from the cosmic community down to the soil community.
Later on the flower is formed as well as the seeds this is where in influence of the sun is coming in again .
You can see from this that if we disemfranchise the soil life through chemicals, the community above the earth will reflect it.
THE COMPOST HEAP
This too was a very interesting lecture. We built three different types of heaps, but all with the main thought in our mind that it needs to be balanced. There should be air, water, soil and warmth in the heap for it to become a good quality compost.
Good compost = good plants.
I am hoping to make a large compost heap with the group sometime in September.
THE PREPARATION OR VITALIZERS
Rudolf Steiner found a way to stimulate the soil community. We shall use vitalizers in the compost heap as well as for spraying the land before sowing and major harvesting. Again, I like to do a workshop on this topic for those who are interested.
THE PLANTING CALENDAR
Rudolf Steiner did not provide us with the calendar, this was developed in the years after his lectures, by people like Maria Thun and more recently by Nick Kollerstrom.
What seems to be the most important time, is the time the seed is put into the earth, as this is when the formative forces start to work. We have been provided with the cosmos. It gives us "a clock" an indication of what to do and when. What happens on earth is a symptom, a reflection of the interpretation of our mediation. In other words, if we, like many of the ancient cultures, interpret the stars well, and use this information in our agriculture, we should get good and healthy produce.
FOOD, FORCES AND FARMING
Food is only food for body and mind, if it is alive. If it has life forces in it.
It is therefore important that what we eat is as fresh as possible. It is probably more energy giving if you have a none organic but a totally fresh vegetable on your plate than an organic two week old limp one. We are lucky in this respect as we are growing organic, good quality fresh vegetables for your families. It is there on the land to be picked. Please share this goodness amongst yourselves and enjoy!
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
A vision without a task is but a dream
A task without vision is drudgery,
A vision with a task is the hope of the world
(Inscription on a church in Susses, England 1730)
Earth who gives us our food
Sun who makes it ripe and good
Dearest Earth and Dearest Sun, love and Joy for all you have done
A blessing on the meal