Biodynamics in the Garden
Good gardening seems a cross between observation, organisation and intuition – recognising and working with cycles and being open to nature’s suggestions.
In the Fair Harvest veggie garden we use an Astronomy Calendar to support this process. Activities that need doing in the garden are planned ahead according to the season, weather, the calendar and ‘a feeling’ for what needs to be done. Lists are then written up on the board at the garden workstation every week. The finished activities are then written into the diary.
I first learned how to make use of an Astro Calendar at Biodynamic Workshops just like the one being hosted at Fair Harvest this coming weekend. What at first seemed like a very daunting and complicated bunch of symbols and mysterious words, turned out to be a great gardening tool.
The calendar and biodynamics in general provide a framework into which garden activities can be organised. They also inspire observation and consideration. But, even without biodynamic inspiration, cultivating our powers of observation makes us better gardeners. What is discovered builds up layer upon layer of understanding and provides sensitivity to the garden’s needs.
The simplest observation that we are probably familiar with, is the sun. When it’s coming up in the morning or going down in the afternoon. Is its arc getting lower in the sky, as we head towards midwinter or higher towards midsummer? Are we planting broccoli and onions or tomatoes and zucchinis?
Plants could be bursting with growth, racing to flower, growing oh-so-slow, and looking not-so-great. Is it hot, warm, cool, dry or dewy?
The moon may be looking bigger or smaller. Its arc across the night sky could be climbing higher or sinking lower and in the background – changing constellations of stars. The ellipse it travels around the earth may take it further from us or closer.
Our observations can range from noticing the micro world of soil to the macro world of the heavens – all while sowing seeds, planting out seedlings, cultivating, weeding, mulching, harvesting.
Being conscious to what is going on around these activities makes all the difference to figuring out what is influencing the garden – and then being able to make our own influence more effective. Working with cycles, planning ahead, being tuned in as gardeners.