This month we learnt about seed sowing, planting and plant resilience as part of the Global Gardens Grow Your Own course.
According to biodynamic pholosophy, plants pass through a cycle of growth, beginning as a germinating seed, moving through vegetative growth to flowering, fruiting and finally seed producing plant.
It is thought that there are particularly strong elemental influences at different stages of these growth cycles: fire and water at germinating stage; earth and water at vegetative growth stage; air and light at flowering stage, and; earth and fire at seed stage.
Alongside these elemental forces, there are also thought to be directional forces - sideways at vegetative growth stage; upwards at flowering stage and downwards at fruit and seed stage.
Kai explained how at fruit and seed stage, plants carry with them the memory of the flowering stage, as they return to earth.Kai explained how at fruit and seed stage, plants carry with them the memory of the flowering stage, as they return to earth.
It is interesting to note the difference between vegetative growth stage where plants can look very similar, and flowering stage where plants develop individual qualities including colour, aroma, shape and structure.
Creating the right conditions for plants to grow will enable them to fully meet their potential capacity: in terms of quality, nutrition and even identity and memory.
For sowing seeds, you don't need a nutritious compost. All seeds need to germinate is warmth, moisture and oxygen and a growing medium to establish.
Well-rotted leaf mould can be ideal for seed sowing or alternatively, you can use a seed-sowing compost. At Global Gardens, we use Fertile Fibre seed compost, which is peat-free, certified organic and includes coconut coir.
When you are potting on plants, you will probably need a more nutritious mix - especially for hungry plants like squash, courgettes and cucumbers.
Kai recommends an equal blend of one part top soil; one part compost and something like leaf mould, well-rotted wood-chip or straw for structure. According to biodynamic philosophy, adding compost and top soil supports plant resilience. Both are understood as 'living soil' because they contain microbial organisms and mycorrhizal fungi, helping plants acclimatise to 'living soil' and develop mycorrhizal associations which support uptake of nutrients and moisture.
At Global Gardens we use a Fertile Fibre potting compost, combined with top soil and compost.
Apparently, the perfect time to water is between 3am and 7am. Unless you are a baker (or an insomniac), this is the peak of sleep time!
There is another option if you still want some kip... Watering in the evening can enhance water absorption through the night so that there is moisture available for plants at peak growing time.
However, if there is a lot of moisture in the air and soil, watering in the evening can increase the prevalence of fungus and slugs. If this is the case and plants still need watering, we recommend watering in the morning.
As we learnt last month, hoeing is also key for supporting optimum soil moisture levels. Maria Thun recommends hoeing in the morning when the soil is heavy with moisture to increase evaporation and hoeing in the evening when the soil is dry to support the retention of soil moisture.
ROOTS: Sow beetroots, carrots, radish.
FRUITS: Plant out squash, courgettes, corn, French beans. Kai also recommends sowing a second crop of courgettes and cucumber as a 'back up'.
LEAVES: Successional sowings of lettuce and spinach.
FLOWERS: Broadcasting flower seeds.