Thursday, January 7, 2010

Biodynamics, Nutrient Density, Soil Building, and Medicinal Herbs

I had the pleasure of being introduced to the subject of Biodynamic Gardening by a local farmer.  When I heard it is a way of making the food we grow as nutrient dense as possible my ears really perked up.  I am one of those in the camp of 'today's food sucks', meaning our fruits and veggies are not as nutritious as they once were.  Many believe organic produce to be higher in vitamins and minerals than their conventional counterparts, but studies have both proven and disproven this general theory.  Bottom line?   It all comes down to the soil.  Healthy soil = healthy plants = healthy people.  Hopefully the selectively applied amendments  and compost will create a micro-organism dense garden soil over the years that will allow my plants to take up as many nutrients as possible, and therefor be pest and disease resistant as well as nutritionally denss.  (Humates, Greensand, Kelp Meal, Organic Compost, and Gypsum will all be added to raised beds come Spring.)
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Measuring Brix is way to take a stab at how your produce is fairing nutritionally.  Juice is taken from the specimen and looked at through a refractometer in order to read the sugar content.  The idea is that if the sugar content is high, other content should be as well.  Most of us don't whip out the refractometer when we harvest a pepper or tomato but I plan to this summer.  I just happen to have one in my kitchen cabinet since I keep saltwater fish and use it to measure salinity.  The only thing I have ever taken a Brix reading on is a carrot, it was showing 65% which would mean the carrot has 65 grams of sugar per 100 grams of solution.  I know very little about this whole Brix business aside from the higher the reading the better, and that many variables can alter the reading.
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Still with me?  Hope so...  :)  Does anyone else out there have an interest in medicinal herbs, particularly those with anti-biotic and anti-viral properties?  Many of these herbs require 3 or 4 years growth before their roots can be harvested and used.  I hope to order one or two of these so they will be on hand if we ever need them.  The anti-biotic resistance in this world in my opinion is one of the scariest things my generation, and my children's generation will face.  (Malaria and TB are spreading faster than ever across the globe and some of these strains are resistant to the list of drugs we use to fight them.  TB hospitals were the thing of the past here in the United States, that is unfortunately slowly changing.  E. Coli has grown drug resistant thanks to cows having guts full of antibiotics.)  Sorry, it really just scares the &*%# out of me.   So I am interested in being a bit self-sufficient on this end as well, but many of these herbs are traditionally grown in China or India thus may not be a good candidate for my Massachusetts garden.

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Lastly, I plan on trying to follow a lunar planting calendar as much as possible this gardening season.  Dates best for sowing, weeding, pest management, etc. are given.  I am very curious to see if germination rates are in fact increased, or if the pest population is more susceptible on certain days.  Lets hope I actually stick with this and keep good records, I really am intrigued by the moon and it's powers.  Thank you for staying with me while I let my inner hippy come out and do a blog post, it's not very often I let her speak.  :)

8 comments:

Erin said...

Go, hippie girl, go! I am looking forward to reading your posts on this. I, too am going to start learning more about the lunar planting method, it definitely intrigues me and I had the pleasure of being surprised last year - RuralRose had posted something about it and I just happened to have seeds that germinated way ahead of schedule, when I checked my planting date calendar I found that it coincided with the Summer Solstice. Hmmm.....

Thomas said...

Biodynamics is definitely something I'd love to read more about. Cynthia from Grow Better Veggies/Love Apple Farm follows it and everything she grows looks amazing. I'm been wondering about the role of the moon and it's affects on plants as well.

Kelly said...

Thomas- Have you done any foliar feeds before? I think I did a post on them way back when.

Dani said...

Hi Kelly. I came over from Erin's place to check out your blog. :)

I would love to learn more about the moon cycles and such. People have been doing it for years, so there must be something to it.

I told Erin to put me on a seed swap list too. I think it would be a lot of fun.

Kelly said...

Hi Dani, thanks for stopping by. Seed swap it is then!

Ruralrose said...

Medicinal herbs are my passion!!! Got questions, bring 'm on! Essential oils are the medicine of the future because they are the best antivirals and antibacterials and natural, gentle with no side effects. Coincidentally they are also the core of biodynamic permaculture. I am surprised you didn't learn about it from your master gardener course, personally I think it should be gardening 101. Happily hippy, peace

Ruralrose said...

Raw milk is illegal here because of possible contaminations. Found a couple of links you may find interesting.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kathy-freston/e-coli-salmonella-and-oth_b_415240.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/07/fecal-bacteria-found-in-n_n_413733.html

peace

Kelly said...

Thanks Rose, I will check out the links. The one reservation I have with raw milk is the possibility of Bovine Leukemia cells being present....but these can be found in pasteurized milk as well if temps are not perfect.