First, I must apologise for silence this week. It has been hugely busy all week, and the days I would usually write a blog have been taken up with dealing with gas men quoting for boilers, delivering Easter treats to Godchildren and then trying to catch up on the chores which have been left alone while doing the other things. This madness is not going to let up over the weekend, but I thought while I wait for the next gas man to arrive, I would write a blog post.
As I am in the Northern Hemisphere and in Europe, as I type, we are in the process of experiencing a solar eclipse. The last time there was such a visible spectacle was in 1999, and I remember being part of the awed crowds watching the process (through appropriate methods to safeguard the eyes, of course). As far as I can tell, if you have seen one eclipse, you have seen them all, so I am not that concerned about the whole process (though it is interesting watching the birds and the squirrels in the garden – they are very confused indeed!) but one thing that did get the old grey cells exercising was whether the solar eclipse would effect biodynamic gardening methods.
You may not know about biodynamic gardening, but it is a subject that is really peaking my interest at the moment. I am not sure if I am going to pursue it, but I want to know more, and so I have been doing a bit of digging around on the internet. I found a really interesting article in the Daily Telegraph (interestingly, printed on my birthday in 2009) which detailed the writer’s experience with biodynamic agriculture. It was an enlightening read (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/6202917/Why-biodynamic-gardening-makes-sense.html) .
This form of gardening was promulgated in 1924 by Austrian Rudolf Steiner, and is effectively a process to deepen our understanding of the life forces that underlie nature’s processes in order to produce food of the highest quality. I can’t help thinking that it is gardening on the same basis that healing using herbalism is for medicine. Supporting the life force in order to get the best result. I guess that might make me sound supremely “crunchy” but it makes sense to me.
Most people are aware of the organic principles of natural sustainability and not using any chemicals. Biodynamics requires a very strong basis of organic husbandry combined with a few practices that “normal” gardeners might find to be a bit odd, including planting according to a lunar calendar, preparation of the soil in particular ways and clearly, very open mind!
I recall that the Royal Horticultural Society did some field trials using chemical, organic and biodynamic methods and the results were quite remarkable. Biodynamic planting, according to the lunar calendar, really made a difference to the health of the plants and the yield they produced. Something definitely works then even if we aren’t sure what.
What about the solar eclipse? If the moon moving through various constellations has such an impact, what about the moon moving across the sun, obliterating it from sight? From my research it is considered sensible to leave all gardening alone for a while – though to be honest, a lot of the sites I found were less than fullsome in their explanations.
I think that I need to do a good deal of research into the methods of biodynamic horticulture before I decide whether to make my vegetable and herb patch a biodynamic experiment.
Mind you, if I could find a method of biodynamic pest control which meant that slug and squirrels went elsewhere for their snacks, I would be on it like a flash! I would also be more than happy to be called “loony”.