Make Friends With Your Garden

To be a farmer or a gardener, I mean really be one, there must be a connection with the land. I relate building a farm or a garden just like making a friend. If you meet somebody and they are demanding, obnoxious, and never give, you are probably not going to want to hang out with them. The land is just the same, and if treated this way it will respond back negatively.

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Rudolph Steiner, the father of The Waldorf Schools and Biodynamic Agriculture regards the farm or garden as a living organism. Not too farfetched if you think about it. After all when you look at yourself in the mirror you are not looking at one organism, you are looking at a community of trillions of organisms. In fact we have trillions of organisms internally and as many as 10 trillion on the outside. It is said that if we were to disappear, except for the organisms on the outside of our body, you would see a perfect silhouette of our body with every part in detail. The point is all the organisms of the planet mix and blend together so much, if you could see them with the naked eye, it would be hard to decipher where one thing ends and the next begins. It is up to us to set the boundaries and define things.

Get more bees with honey

I was always told to kill them with kindness and I will go farther. Makes sense and works, everything responds better when you are being nice. So why not apply this in the garden? When you see insects eating your plant, don't be so quick to kill it. Observe the bug and try to figure out why it is there. Killing bugs is kinda like, killing the messenger of bad news. The insect is just trying to put a sick plant out of its misery; there is a deeper issue that needs to be addressed. Just like us, if plants are healthy, they are immune and will not get bugs.

In our society we are spoiled by time, we are used to having things immediately. We wanted big plants fast, so they invented Miracle Grow. The thing they didn't tell you is there would be side effects. They should mark the bottle of Miracle Grow with a label that reads: Warning, applying this fertilizer will cause insects to want to eat your plant. Of course they don't because they want to sell you the insecticide or fungicide as well. When we apply a heavy nitrogen fertilizer, the plant must absorb extra water to dilute the nitrogen and as a result we get rampant growth. This soft tissue growth is exactly what insects love to eat. This growth is more like cell expansion and not steady growth; it is not only susceptible to insects, but also cold weather.

Make Friends With Your Garden


Connect with your garden

I tell the kids in my Jr Sprouts classes to utilize all their senses when in the garden and not just their eyes. Sometimes learning the kid's way first makes understanding easier, so here goes. When walking in the garden, you can't just look at a plant to see if it needs water. The signs of an over watered plant and an under watered plant look pretty much the same. The plant will be drooping and the leaves may be yellow or brown and curled. To really know if the plant needs water we must connect with the soil and feel the moisture level. I make it a point to stop at a plant, whether it is doing good or bad, and first observe the posture and color, then I feel the soil for moisture and grab a small amount of soil in my hand, I then smell the soil, and finally if it is an edible plant, I will taste it. All at the same time, I am listening to the different sounds of animals and insects that may be in the area. Each time you do this you will get more and more connected to your garden, you will eventually tighten your gardening skills to be like a good mother that knows what the baby needs before it even starts to cry.

Make Friends With Your Garden

So don't be in such a hurry to do your garden chores, take time to really experience what is going on. Plants can't lie or put on lipstick to change your opinion of them. Plants are always talking; we just need to learn to listen. My mentor could read plants and see their auras or energy fields. He could point out a group of trees in the distance that were sick. I don't believe he was a quack at all, maybe a bit quirky. What I do believe is that each one of has this ability, but it comes with time, practice, and patience.

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