Please keep in mind, I have been gardening for over decade and it is only recently (through this blog, in fact), that I have actually cared to document my step by step process through writing and photography. For many years, I'd amend my soil, draw out my dream garden (taking in consideration what plants would do well at that time of year), rush to the nursery at the beginning of a new season, grab what I knew I wanted and the amount I needed ( in relation to my spacing within the garden) and plant it. Never writing the days I did this work or where the moon was, etc. I'd roughly know the time of the month and that was enough for me.
This time, I have chosen to really examine each step and consciously evaluate what I do physically in my garden, as well as spiritually.
The spiritual approach is also new for me. Now, 2 days shy of 16 weeks along in my second pregnancy, I am using my garden as an anchor to ground and guide me towards balance as a mother. Gardening is such a healing practice for me. It gives me the gifts of silence, serenity, peace of mind and a deep sense of accomplishment. My garden doesn't judge me, it doesn't push my buttons, it doesn't suck me dry of energy. Instead, it fills me with joy, life and nutrients. It feeds me and my family and gives back as much as I give to it. And that connection and intimate relationship to nature is profound. Just as a woman having the innate ability to create and birth life into the world. Growing life, whether plants or human beings, is a miraculous experience that leaves you awestruck, inspired and fulfilled. I have never put spiritual intention into plants when planting them, but today I did. I planted Stalks to give me strength, not only through this pregnancy and child birth, but through mothering Jordan during this time of having another child. I planted Snap Dragons in order to ward away my fears, letting go of any anxiety around child birth or motherhood today. I planted Sweet Peas to bring joy, love and sweet fragrance to my families home. And I planted Broccoli to nourish myself and my family, so that our immune system may flourish during the sleepless nights ahead.
The physical approach on the other hand, is something I have done many times over. Last week, on the Full Moon in Aries (October 3rd), my husband and I ripped out all of my summer garden, except for my marigolds, foxglove and 3 basil plants. All of these items were still flourishing and I chose to leave them in for at least another month. After removing all other plants, my husband dug roughly 2 feet down into the ground, in order to fluff and airate the soil. We removed all root systems and debris from the beds as well. Then we threw, evenly throughout the two sides, 4 (2 cubic ft.) bags of Organic Amend and homemade compost (about 2 gallons with worms included) for my 200 square foot garden and re-dug the amend/compost mix into the soil. We left the soil to rest for 7 days before planting in it again, watering it every 3 days.
I began my planting today, October 10th. I chose to follow the North American Biodynamic Sowing and Planting Calendar 2009 by Maria Thun. It is here that I was informed, although the Western Astrology calendar says the moon is in Cancer today, the zodiac constellation in the sky is still Gemini. Western Astrology calendars and the Biodynamic calendar tend to be slightly different from one another because the Biodynamic calendar follows the zodiac constellations within astronomy. With Western Astrology, the houses (constellations) are set equally at 30 degrees. With the zodiac constellations in astronomy, the sizes vary, with some larger than others. Therefore, the moon moves quicker, for example, through zodiac constellations of Scorpio and Libra, because they are so small.
Air signs, like Gemini, are the day to plant flowers. I decided to purchase sweet peas, broccoli, stalks, and snap dragons to plant in my garden. At first, I was thrilled! I love flowers!! Their color, vibrancy and fragrance leaves me intoxicated. But today, it left me confused and a little out of sorts. You see, I am used to designing and planting the "big picture" all at once, with my flower boarder always going in last, as a final touch. This time, I was forced to plant my flower boarder first, before my chard, onions, carrots, beets, etc. It definitely forced me out of my comfort zone.
Choosing to stay true to my experiment (and this blog), I am approaching this Winter Garden in a whole new way and trusting that all will work out in the end. Actually, I'm quite curious what the results will be!! My hope, is that it will be an abundant crop that yields enough food to feed my family until I have our next baby, March 30, 2010. Okay, maybe that is a stretch...but we'll see!
Similar to pregnancy and child birth, you only have so much control in your garden. You can research, build knowledge, prepare all the elements involved the best you know how, but at a certain point, you have to let go, trust and experience the organic process. Gardening is the same as child birth because their are factors, inevitably, that you can't control; weather, climate changes, animals, pests, etc. are all things you can try to manipulate, but can't always conquer. Just like in labor. We can plan and plot, logically and intellectually, how we want our birth experience to go, but at a certain point, mother nature takes over. And her agenda isn't always what we thought it would be. In the end, whether challenging or smooth, we are stronger and wiser for it.
I have visually documented my planting today in the next post, with step-by-step pictures. In the captions, I discuss: seed preparation, soil depth, plant spacing, plant placement in relation to the sun, and my watering technique. Enjoy!