Yesterday I sat cross-legged in the garden with the little bugs exploring me every now and then and the wind scolding the flies away and cooling me as the warm sun worked its magic. This time of year, I can almost feel the pulsing energy of Life- stretching, reaching, wanting to be known. Everywhere in our garden, it’s as if the single cry of all the little seeds and plants is to push up- see that sun, feel that wind. The Earth is so fertile and full. With great wisdom, whenever we roto-till or dig up a bare place, she hurries to fill it back in with… Life!
When I first moved to the country about four years ago and began to garden, I would become so frustrated by weeds. Now, I know that the term “weed” is derogatory, really; a weed is simply a plant one wishes was not growing in the place it has chosen. I’ve seen what happens when a barren patch of earth is left barren too long- if it is dry, the ground becomes dusty and crumbly, and the wind can erode it; if it is freshly tilled and heavy rains come, the waters can erode it. Actually, even the air can “erode” nutrients; many of them oxidize with oxygen exposure. And it amazes me how even in the dryest weather, sometimes if I visit a patch of thick weeds a few feet away from a parched spot, I will find a bit of moisture on the bottoms of the leaves, or underneath the thickest, “weediest” place, where the plants have acted as a greenhouse covering, keeping the little bit of moisture protected from the eye of the sun and giving the little buglets a place to drink some leftover dew.
Now, when I see a bare patch, I almost feel embarrassed for the Earth, as if she was naked! I know she prefers to be covered, I know it is better for the soil and better for the little creatures, many of them helpful (like those wonderful earthworms!). Of course, it wouldn’t do to just let the weeds overrun the little seedlings we are cultivating, either. They will grow stronger and healthier if they have room to grow, if they don’t have to share the water and nutrients with other (and perhaps bigger) plants trying to crop up. As I weed I might sing little seed songs, and I offer my love and gratitude for each little seedling that has emerged- or as I like to think, chosen to be here with me! “Weeding” is a sweet opportunity to get up close and intimate with my little plants, knowing this will help them offer back to me everything I need in our symbiotic relationship.
In the Ringing Cedars books from which our co-op borrowed its name, Anastasia, the main character, shares some wonderful gardening insights. She talks about how important it is to connect with your garden in a living way- so cast aside those shoes and gardening gloves and walk barefoot and touch with your fingers! When you plant a seed, first make the earth bed soft with your fingers, and spit in the hole if you are so inclined. Now hold the seed in your mouth or in your tightly closed, sweaty palm for a few moments; let your own body fluids with their particular chemistry (acid or alkaline) and “flora” (all the little microbes, such as probiotics) envelope the seed. The seed, in turn, will take in those things as “clues”, if you will, of what you need. Your garden will know you intimately, and know what particular nutrients you may need most. It will be a garden unique to you, and a “healing garden”.
Now this immediately resonated with me, because I’ve read The Secret Life of Plants and I know there is MUCH more to plants than meets the eye. Did you know a scientist has been able to hook up garage door openers to plants and the plant can activate the door to open when the home owner approaches and simply wills his plant to do it? But if someone who has not cared for the plant, who the plant doesn’t “know” tries to open the door – nothing. They’ve actually hooked up plants to polygraphs (lie detectors), too, because electrodes attached to plants can help them visibly display a reading that discerns certain human intentions (such as to harm a nearby plant). Crazy, wonderful information- which makes the whole outdoor experience become a wonder land of inter-connectivity. The world has come incredibly alive to me with these revelations! Of course, when we read about Dr. Emoto’s work with the memory of water, and we consider that plants contain a lot of water (as do we), its just another fitting piece of the puzzle. Even water reacts to human action.
Now, perhaps there are no scientific studies yet to verify if Anastasia is correct, but this way of gardening really resonates with me and I don’t need studies to prove what my inner knowing verifies. It simply makes sense, from what I already know about the Creator (who gave us these plants for food and medicine) and Nature, and the richness of beauty and wisdom we humans barely tap the depths of when we approach the natural world. If you doubt, I urge you to try it for yourself! See what changes occur in your whole mindset and relationship to the natural world when you interact with it this way.
Speaking of food and “knowing”, it always surprised me that when people read the story of the Garden of Eden, they didn’t focus more on the fact that a tree fruit had the ability to convey the Knowledge of Good and Evil! Talk about our food having different properties. In the East, there are whole systems classifying food and its properties, helping interested seekers discover which particular foods best suit their particular needs. I find this much more fascinating than the typical American approach of shoving whatever strikes our fancy down the hatch! As I explore the Ayurvedic doshas I know that my body has a hot, dry tendency and the cooling and lubricating foods best support my needs. Perhaps all that cooling wild spearmint that has grown like crazy in our garden is encouraged to grow there for me, knowing it is exactly what I need!
Remember the mini-hoophouse I made in April?
It worked out so well! We really got a head start for our cool elevated zone.
I am also interested in learning more about biodynamic gardening. I already try to plant by the moon- when the moon is waning, I plant my root veggies so they can grow deep down; when it is waxing, I plant seeds that will grow leaves and fruit above ground so the pull of the moon is strong and helps them poke up (just like the tides!). I’ve also learned little tricks about when to plant; oftentimes, the blossoms or fading of other plants signal the time is right to plant a certain variety (for instance, we don’t do our potatoes until the dandelions have mostly all gone to seed).
Now, back to that “Space of Love” concept from Anastasia. She urges us (especially as mothers) to create a unique space on our plot of land, little or big as it may be and to create a “living border” for it. At first, you can plant rapidly growing and useful plants such as berry bushes, around the perimeter of your property. Willows grow quickly, too. Also intersperse fruit and hardwood trees throughout if possible, so in the end you have this beautiful living border that surrounds your space of love, protects it, and offers nuts, berries, fruit, and valuable timber for future needs your family has. I have thought about how even those in apartments can do this with container plants (herbs, maybe?) in strategic places- even hanging from hooks- around the home. Nurture this space, hold it in your heart as sacred; make this a place you can be rooted in and teach your children what incredible confidence we can have when we create a bit of self-reliance around us. Of course, this attitude will also help end our oil fixation, as most of our food comes from farming methods dependent on oil, transportation dependent on oil, warehoused in supermarkets dependent on oil and other energy sucking devices, even packaging derived using oil (as much of our plastic is).
As my idea of a Space of Love has become entrenched in my heart, the “hold” my land has on me pulls me back to it strongly! I don’t like to leave for very long, and when I do I am so happy to come back. I’ve birthed two babies right here on this land, and it already holds such dear memories!
Our “Fertility” Symbol
Oh- and a few giveaways for my friends out there! To enter, share about Cedar Ring Circle Waldorf Co-op or these blog Giveaways via email, Facebook, word of mouth, or through your own blog, and leave a comment telling how you shared and which one of these three giveaways would best meet your needs.
Giveaway # 1: Childrens’ Learn to Knit Kit from Peace Fleece. Congratulations, Michelle!!
Giveaway #2: Wooden Gnome-In-A-Tree Puzzle from Peace Fleece. Congratulations, Nicole J.-K.! (and I like your blog by the way- what beautiful children!!)
And Giveaway #3: One year’s Co-op Membership ($25 value). Congratulations, Elizabeth! Welcome to Cedar Ring Circle.
(Don’t forget to read the past two posts for the first giveaways; and all 5 giveaways are open until Friday at midnight). Good luck, and I’m sending out my best wishes for success to all of you mamas creating your own Space of Love for your family.