One of the great benefits coming with Gardening, meaning, of course "Organic or 'Bio' Gardening" (since anything that use man-made artificial chemicals and GMOs can't seriously be called 'gardening'), is the wonderful educational and transformational impact it will have on your life and the life of anyone else genuinely involved. This is the reason why exposing children to gardening should be one of the great priorities of any rounded educational program.
Nowadays, most people are completely disconnected from Nature and the vast, complex and all-encompassing Web of Life. Gardening can and, with time, always will, "reconnect" you.
Even more, interacting with soil and plants the natural way slowly but surely will transform you into a Steward of the Land. This process will give you potential access to layers of Reality you possibly were never exposed to. In turn creating for you an entry point into a better understanding of who you are, and of your place and role in the Web of Life. Its intricacies and overall harmony are truly wondrous things to behold. And in a way, all of this is just yours for the asking.
This deeper understanding of Nature and its laws is what set people such as Karl von Reichenbach, Nikola Tesla, Rudolf Steiner, Maurice Maeterlinck, Viktor Schauberger, Otto Warburg, Andre Birre, Andre Voisin, Louis Kervran, Jean Pain and Sepp Holzer apart. We can only benefit from studying and understanding their legacies and integrate their findings in our practices and in our lives.
To place things in perspective, let us quote here Dr Patricia Doyle, a Ph.D specialized in emerging disease and epidemiology, recently writing about 'Avian Flu' and 'Swine Flu' outbreaks: “As I've told my students and audiences for many years, either we work with Nature or we work without, but when we do without, we are self-defeated on every front, in every way. The fact is that we live entirely dependent on a planet sustained by a long, extremely complex series upon series of finite closed systems of energy and information. This is our ultimate reality, and we'd better get used to it, because it's the only future we have to go back to.
Nature can be excruciatingly beautiful, but also be exceedingly deadly, as Aldous Huxley elaborated in his essay, "Wordsworth in the Tropics". We must keep both realities in our consciousness at all times, if we wish to survive another day. For an excellent review of Huxley's very perceptive thoughts on a wide variety of subjects, I recommend this website, with its wonderful photos: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Aldous_Huxley In spite of our manipulative techniques we're only one species of critter in the midst of countless other critters in the air, water, and land, most of whom we go through life completely unaware of, although it's finally become obvious that we do so at our immediate and fatal peril.“
There are two points emerging from this quote: First, we either work with Nature, or we don't. If we don't, we should be ready to pay the bills when they come due. The second is when Nature strikes, it strikes the weak, and the weakest are the poisoned ones. That is, the one who eat like most people do.
Even during the Great Plague epidemics, and in the worst places to be in at that time, while *everyone* was exposed to the plague, only about ½ of all people died. If you ever thought about such historical events, did you ever ask yourself: “Why this half, and not that half?” The obvious answer is, because of a difference in immune systems and immune defenses.
Now, what created the difference? Genetics? Perhaps indeed did genetics contribute to a small extent. But what made the real, most statistically-significant difference, and still does, is how and what people ate. Actually, the most evident statistical correlation is with whether people were likely to have a garden or not. Monks, many of whom cared for the sick, and should have been among the highest casualties, but who all tended gardens, died in much smaller numbers than for example armsmen, who didn't.
Think of it! True, no one can force a horse to drink, but one can lead a thirsty horse to the pond. You have been given all the information you need. Whether you drink or not is up to you.
Only thing, whatever you decide, don't delay too much, because most probably we are only about three years from major systemic collapse in the monetary and economic areas. (Which is in itself quite ironic, considering that December 2012 is in fact supposed to be “the end of the world”). How will this possible collapse translate in terms of loss of social support systems or even epidemics remains to be seen, perhaps everything will still somehow work as before, just a bit worse. But then, perhaps it won't. If it doesn't, your Garden, if there is one, and your overall level of preparation might make a big difference to you. Perhaps to points we are not used to consider in the normal course of living in a supposedly civilized society.
Again, think of it! And perhaps start creating a serious Garden and also maybe stockpile a bit of food and water, while all this is still easy to do!
P02 – TRUE UNDERSTANDING OF NATURE LEADS TO UNDERSTANDING SOIL DESIGN [V105-95D]:
P021 - THE 'SCHAUBERGER IMPERATIVE”: When you "design" soil the proper way, all you do is observe Nature at her best (or more probably, stand on the shoulders of the giants that preceded you, to better observe Her), and then attempt to emulate and recreate Her most intricate and exquisite processes.
This process of internalized observation and then, emulation, is what we call the “Schauberger Imperative”: “Erst kapieren, dann kopieren”. “First, 'get it' (or 'grok it', to use the word Robert Heinlin coined in “Stranger in a strange land”), then, copy it.”
P022 - EMULATING NATURE:
P0221 - THE NEED TO OVERCOME PSEUDO-SCIENCE: For example, the mechanicist or materialist-reductionist, who doesn't understand much of anything, will tell you things such as : "But nature will never bring seaweed, fish meal or fish oil to a field or a forest, so why would we do it?". "Vitamin and mineral supplements are just an easy way to produce expensive urine."
Or "It doesn't matter what you eat, as long as it's equilibrated for protein, carbohydrates and fats": This was and still is the standard creed of allopathic medical "nutrition", a subject to which until recently most medical school devoted one hour. Not per day. Not per week. Not per month. Not even per year. No. One hour for the total seven years pre-med and "medical" curriculum! And these are the people (who incidentally, according to insurance companies actuarial tables, die at the youngest age of all professions) that we are supposed to listen to, to stay healthy!!! If you needed any more proof that the world as it is is in dire need of some deep reform, here you have it...
OK, Nature doesn't bring seaweed or fish meal or oil to field and forest. Fine. And perfectly true. But only if you can't see beyond the reach of your nose.
But for those of us who actually use their brains, now, what do you think Nature does in many places, such as for example the Pacific Rainforest, when salmon comes to spawn and to die and decompose, and bears and cats and all sorts of animals and micro-organisms (and humans) catch it or harvest it, eat it and defecate it, or leave parts of it to rot and be naturally composted? Exactly what you do when you bring seaweed from the shores, or plankton or fish from the Ocean, even in the form of fish meal. All you are doing is simply by-passing the krill or small fry eating the seaweed first, to be eaten later by the salmon, whose function is to be the carrier that brings the minerals and nutrients of the Sea deep into the land.
P0222 - Nature's intricacies are endless, and they almost totally escape mechanicist 'science'. And even if such realities are readily accessible to any bright child who gardens, corporate "scientists" will continue peddle their Land- (and People-) killing artificial chemicals, politicians will continue to subvention the corporate hand that feeds them, and the Land-killing practices of agri-business will just continue in scope and ambitions, etc, until the whole complex system we live on completely collapses. Some signs seem to indicate we are no that far from such an event anymore.
Listening to peddlers instead of listening to the majestic voices of Nature sure is a mark of folly. Yet, as a society, that about all we do. With results that speak for themselves: Cancer, once the rarest of diseases, will hit one person in two. Alzheimer's, which did not even have a name before the early 20th century, is now classified as the fourth killer by rank. Etc, etc.
Do you really think it's all by chance? Or maybe just another "unfortunate effect of global warming"? Or perhaps, just happening by operation of the Holy Spirit, who, for some reason, doesn't like us anymore?
Our noses are right in the middle of it, but it seems that aspartame, MSG, pesticides, herbicides, artificial hormones, GMOs, bad government and fast "food" did something to our collective sense of smell. To say nothing about our collective brainpower.
P023 - SMALL-SCALE, LOCAL ORGANIC GARDENING & FARMING *IS* THE MOST PRACTICAL SOLUTION:
We go over this in this page from many different approaches, but the main point is truly simple: When you start Gardening, you are making a stand against all this, and all the past and present errors. As fart as you are concerned, enough is enough. You become a revolutionary, a genuine Resistance fighter.
You are embracing Change. Moreover, you are Change.
And you will reap the rewards of doing the right thing!
The easiest way to get your own successful Garden going is Garden Design with the P.L.E.A.S.E. Methods, and soil design.
P03 - RAISED BEDS AND SOIL DESIGN - GENERAL PRINCIPLES AND QUICK OVERVIEW
P031 - OPTIMAL SOIL DESIGN – UNDERSTANDING SOIL COMPOSITION:
The key for good soil is good mineralization and "fluffiness" with lots of varied organic material, leading to good water and air retention and therefore, air and water availability to the plants, and to a soil that is so alive with micro-organisms, earthworms, etc, that it almost moves.
Well-designed soil simply follows Nature's own rules, and makes key soil components, that is, water, air, minerals and micro-organisms, readily and easily available to the plants. Let's go over this:
P0311/ WATER: No water, no life. Water is the blood of the Earth, and the main component of your own blood and body. For plants too, water availability, that is, LIVING water availability must remain high at all time, but drainage must also be excellent -- stagnant waters are death for many higher organisms. Why? No water, no hydrogen, no oxygen. No water, no life.
Water availability is taken care of by "fluffiness", and the superior capability of many organic materials, such as leaf molds or peat moss to absorb many times their weight in water, “clusterize” the water (make it “alive”) and keep it available for plants.
P0312/ AIR: No air, no life. People rarely think of air as a main component of a healthy soil, but it is. In fact, it is almost as important as water. No air, no carbon dioxide, no oxygen, no nitrogen. The more aerated your soil, the better will your results be. “Fluffiness” of the soil, for the organic gardener, should be almost a religion.
P0313/ MINERALS: Minerals are only about 2% to 8% of the average plant, usually in the vicinity of 5%. Yet, these minerals are so essentials to the plant's (and the plant eater's) well-being that when there is a lack of them and any possibility to create them by transmutation at 'room' temperature, plants actually do so. This was conclusively proven by Louis Kervran in the 50's and the 60's, yet 'official' science still does not officially acknowledge the fact. Nonetheless, this explain why an acre of wheat produces biomass containing 75 pounds of magnesium in average, even if there is NO magnesium in the soil. However, these are complex processes, and many essential micro-nutrients can not be synthesized that way. If it's not there, it's not in our food, and Dr Wallach of “Dead Doctors Don't Lie” fame has quite advanced the proposition that 99% of our disease are actually nutritional deficiency diseases. Personally, we don't know if the percentage is truly ~that~ high, but at any rate everything seems to indicate it truly is very high. Indeed, if it's not in the soil, it's not going to be in out food. And we might die from it. This is why nutritional supplementation is important, and even more, this is why growing food right, that is organically and in mineral-rich soils (think seaweed and fossil minerals) is fundamentally important.
The soil can only give what it has. Sure, micro-organisms (and even plants and animals) are actually capable of room-temperature elemental transmutations. But these are limited in scope, and the conditions for the creation of certain elements are sometimes not present, leading to their absence, and thus to nutritional deficiencies in animals and humans. Iodine is one of the classical example of that. Therefore, you must make sure that a properly designed soil not only has sufficient supply of macro-elements, such as the famous trilogy N. P. K. (Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Kalium, that is, potassium), but even more, that it contains all the micro-elements or oligo-elements that complex living processes require. A soil filled with organic matter never lacks NPK. But it may lack of many elements necessary for the health of plants and of what or whom eats the plants. There are several ways to ensure this, the easiest probably being mammal urine (if you can have access to it, one of the greatest natural fertilizers there is, by weight, 2.5% nitrogen compounds, and 2.5% minerals, vitamins, etc), seaweed and fossile humates (for example from Utah's humic shale deposits) or even simply from natural coal dust.
P0314/ MICRO-ORGANISMS AND FUNGI: No micro-organisms, no higher order life -- no plants, no animals. In fact, each of us has 2 to 3 POUNDS of beneficial (and a few quite less beneficial) microorganisms in our guts. Without them, we would die, and without them, there would be no superior life whatsoever.
So, when it comes to the soil, anything that contributes to the well-being and availability of beneficial micro-organisms is good. Additions such as bio-dynamic compost, "Effective Micro-Organisms" and mushroom mycelia are quite useful to the very least, and some would say, essential.
Mushroom mycelia (mushroom "roots", preferably from edible varieties, actually, the whole plant, since the mushrooms we eat are only the fruiting bodies)), for example, are an often overlooked component of a healthy soil. The smart Gardener won't overlook them, though.
Mycelia and probiotic micro-organisms are essentially symbiotic with higher order plants, and perfectly capable of transferring minerals, nutrients and more from one plant to another. They do it all the time. As already alluded to, to some extent, mycelia and probiotics are also capable of certain elemental transmutations, which for example is why even in a completely magnesium-depleted soil, biomass will always provide significant levels of magnesium, as wheat fields prove year after year.
The web of life is much more complex than mechanistic "science" would have us believe, and the observation,comprehension and emulation of Nature is the only way we can grow food that is in tune with the physical needs of our bodies. In other words, 'food' that is truly “food”.
Again, as the great Viktor Schauberger put it about what our relation to Nature should be: "Erst kapieren, dann kopieren." "First 'get it', then emulate it." This is the only possible way to go!
P0315/ CARBON: The entire web of life on this planet is based on carbon. For plants, easy access to bio-available carbon, in form of humic and fulvic acids compounds (humus), etc, is absolutely essential. This is provided by discomposing vegetal matter, with which your 'designer soil' will be filled with. At the level of the garden soil designer, humus and leaf molds from the forest as well as composts will take care of that issue.
However, supplementing the soil with 1% to 5% pure carbon black preferably from vegetal sources can actually increase biomass production in very remarkable ways, often lasting for a very long time. This is the secret of the Mayan "Black Soil". Still today, there are patches of rainforest in Mexico and Guatemala, in what once was Mayan market gardens of millennia past, that are much more productive than their surroundings. The secret: Carbon black. Generously admixed into the soil hundreds if not thousands of years ago. Definitely a "long term investment": Spend once, have your descendants (or their conquerors) at the 50th generation still reap the benefits! Definitely the definition of a good investment, particularly considering how cheap it is. To say nothing about “car5bon sequestration”, one of the current buzzwords of environmental activism.
P032 -OPTIMAL SOIL DESIGN - PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS:
P0321- GENERAL FACTS: THINGS ARE SOMETIMES SIMPLER THAN WHAT YOU MAY THINK...: Don't worry too much about how "composted" or "fresh" your soil components are (except for extreme cases, such as chicken manure which, fresh, can only be used mixed with saw dust or wood shavings, and only completely at the bottom of a bed). The issue for you to worry about is quantity. In practice, raised garden beds are very hungry beasts...
… BUT YOU WILL NEED LOTS OF MATERIALS: One bag of anything is close to nothing. Just *one* 30 or 32 square feet raised bed (3' x 10' or 4' x 8') will absorb between 1 and 2 TONS of materials (and that's METRIC tons, not 'short' tons), depending on the height of the bed and the nature of the material, it's humidity or moisture content, and other such factors... That's quite some, and requires or patience and work, or cash – in which case other people will do the work for you.
In the P.L.E.A.S.E. cutting-edge gardening and agricultural methodology, all of this comes to play in patterns and layers:
To best understand the process of layering, nothing beats attending a couple hands-on soil layering and soil design classes. This will get to get you a feeling about the whole thing, how to make layers, etc. And perhaps get some significant amount of horse manure if you can secure any (doesn't matter if it's straight from the factory, horse manure does not really need to be composted) and definitely a couple bags seaweeds from the shore.
PO322 - P.L.E.A.S.E. SOIL DESIGN FOR STANDARD RAISED BEDS – PATTERNED LAYERING:
The composition of the soil designed for standard raised beds will vary according to location and with the actual on-site availability of suitable materials, such as leaves, grass clippings, leaf mold, shredded brush or twigs, horse or rabbit manure, etc.
What a standard bed will almost always contains is:
P032201/ An initial layer of cardboard or newspaper. This creates both a permeable water barrier and a powerful earthworm attractant.
P032202/ Local materials if any, such as surface leaves, grass clippings (but NOT from chemically treated lawns), small brush, etc. These should always be put at the bottom, since you can safely presume them to be quite seedy.
P032203/ Wood shavings or chips (chipped-shredded tree branches, horse bedding, clean sawdust, etc). If you have such a layer, add chicken manure to it if handy, or horse, goat or rabbit manure, animal urine, etc. Reason for that is that such chips are structurally excellent for your soil, but usually totally devoid of nitrogen.
P032204/ If you have crushed eggshells (get them from restaurants, besides what you can collect from your own kitchen, family and neighbors), this is the stage where you put them in, the shells crushed and thinly spread.
P032205/ Freshly collected seaweed. Or kiln-dried agricultural kelp, if that's all you can get.
P032206/ Alfalfa (what might be called "hay" by some).
P032207/ Straw inoculated with mycelia ("mushroom roots", if you want. This can be bought commercially, or grown by yourself, from supermarket-bought mushrooms, and sterilized oats or rice bran.)
P032208/ These two, admixed with horse manure if available. Dairy cow manure is even better, but much harder to find. Horse manure is the easiest manure to find, and the second best after dairy cow manure. Any other manure will do, but avoid the offerings of anything that eats meat (so, forget about pigs, dogs and cats -- at best use that at the bottom of a big hole in which you will plant a tree. Same goes for human offerings, if the idea came to your mind. Sure, they use “nightsoil” in China, but it isn't that good an idea to follow suit.)
P032209/ Rock powder. Easiest is freshly decomposed granite (in L.A., we get ours from our "private mine" in La Canada). And other rock powders or granules, the best being natural phosphate rock and certain volcanic rocks ground to a flour. A bit of calcium- and magnesium rich rock would be good as well -- usually calcium carbonate deposits, in moderation. Volcanic rock dust is usually the very best. Freshly discomposed granite does basically the same thing than standard rock dust, but lava dust does different things, or the same things in a much more powerful way.
P032210/ Leaf and Leaf Mold from forest grounds. Absolute best is oak leaf mold.
P032211/ Wood ashes - that is, if you have any. Best: Hardwood ashes. Don't burn any treated (=poisoned) woods! Addition of wood ashes is only important if you use acidic leaf molds such as decomposed pine needles, as it will adjust the PH to more neutral. This, because wood ashes are alkaline, they contain potassium hydroxide (= "potash" = 'K' for Kalium, an old name for the same thing, in “N.P.K”) and some phosphoric compounds ('P' in “NPK”).
P032212/ Standard garden compost (the one anyone can make using kitchen scraps, etc).
P032213/ A small amount of local garden earth, like 5%, admixed with the rest. Mainly to add some local micro-organisms.
P032214/ “McAndrew Special” bio-dynamic compost, or any genuine biodynamic compost, if any available. [See www.biodynamiccompost.com for that.] Sort of a “life force” as well as micro-organisms concentrate.
P0323 – GENERAL ORDER: There are numerous variations as to how things are admixed, and there are usually several layers of each material, thinly spread. The way to go is repeating the layers several time over, working the seediest material to the bottom, the chunky material just over it, going finer and finer as you approach the surface.
P0324 – WHAT TO AVOID: Stuff like bone and blood meals are in itself excellent for the plants, but should be avoided because of possible prion contamination, besides the fact that many people are uncomfortable with them for ethical reasons. But if you use bone meal, chicken and turkey bones are best. Avoid pork and beef if you can.
P0325 – WHAT TO POSSIBLY ADD: Numerous other amendments can be added, such as carbon black a.k.a. "biochar", perlite, vermiculite, peat moss, guano, composted chicken manure, mosses, oak leaves and oak leaf mold, humic shale granules, humates, shredded barks, etc, or whatever else suits your fancy (as long as compatible with organic principles) but these are not basic standards. And if you have to buy them, will cost you extra.
Of course you can also add things such as soil analysis and adjustments, PH measuring and balancing, etc, but by and large, you don't need to even think of them in normal circumstances.
P033 – HOW TO EMULATE NATURE:
Your goal when layering and admixing materials is to create a soil as close to possible to the ideal conditions Nature creates in forest hollows on light slopes, where numerous factors contribute to give birth to super-rich soils allowing plants to develop optimally. This, because of both texture and 'fluffiness' as well as water AND air retention capabilities and micro-organisms 'friendliness”..
AIR is as much one of the four keys components of a healthy soil as water, minerals and beneficial micro-organisms! What you are doing when incorporating lots of air is emulating Nature at her best.
“Doing things right” from the very beginning will reward you over and over, year after year. Multiplying your initial investment in time and energy plus perhaps small amounts of money to create for you generous and repeated dividends of bountiful, healthy and health-sustaining crops.
It's well-worth your efforts!
In CONCLUSION, designed the PLEASE-ing way, your soils will completely obey the Schauberger Imperative: "Erst kapieren, dann kopieren!": First, 'grok' or 'get from the inside' what Nature does and how and why; then, copy it!
P.L.E.A.S.E. Methods are the very antithesis of conventional agriculture. They are unlikely, thus, to see the plants grown on them in need of conventional approaches.
In a nutshell, as a consequence of poor practices and separation from Nature, or perhaps even, as some think, by design, agri-business crops and processed food make you sick. While PLEASE farming or gardening and natural (true) food will return you to Health and keep you healthy!
What you eat and the way you eat it, this is entirely your choice. Therefore, health or sickness is your choice. As Hippocrates put it 2500 years ago: “You are what you eat”!
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