Well....I know all the river guides and boating enthusiasts are stoked to have such a wet and cool April this year. But as gardeners, we definitely notice that things are growing a bit slower than normal. Don't beat yourself up, don't get down on your garden, plants need sunlight to feed themselves and without it they might be slow to start. Now that May is here and the soil is starting to warm up, your plants will certainly have a growth spurt and germinate better in the warmer soils. One of the volunteers today reminded me, "Hey! it's only May in Southwest Colorado."
With all of this rainy + cool weather, we have been able to work on expanding the garden beds at Manna, getting the hoop house ready for tomatoes and cucumbers, and diligently applying biodynamic preps. We are ready for the growing season and our compost is looking amazing. We have already turned the pile twice this spring and it's composting with a great fervor. The bees are really happy this year possibly due in part to the return of biodynamic soil + compost preps this year. Wanna know what we use and when? Check out the list below. We order all of our soil preps from Josephine Porter Institute in Floyd Virginia.
1. Compost Starter Prep which contains BD #500 and #502-507 (yarrow, camomile, stinging nettle, oak bark, dandelion, and valerian preps), this stimulates the proliferation of beneficial soil organisms and enzymes creating vital compost, applied in April to compost
2. BD Compound Prep contains BD #502-507 (listed above) and is sprayed on all the garden beds to amend them in early May.
3. BD #500 Pre-Potenized Horn Manure - this is used as a soil spray to stimulate root growth and humus production, it comes from the buried horn manure from one year prior. It is sprayed just prior to transplanting.
The Manna Garden will also use an addition of horn silica as a soil or foliar spray once the transplants have a stronger root structure. Manna also sows seeds and plants according to the Biodynamic calendar. The Biodynamic growing method was created by Rudolf Steiner. The Biodynamic Association describes Steiner below:
"In the domain of agriculture, Steiner was the first to point to the danger of synthetic fertilizers, which were just appearing in his time. He was also the first to bring the perspective of the farm as a single, self-sustaining organism that thrives through biodiversity, the integration of crops and livestock and the creation of a closed-loop system of fertility. Steiner also brought forth a unique and comprehensive approach to soil, plant, animal and human health that recognizes the importance of the healthy interplay of cosmic and earthly influences. With this knowledge, he developed a set of homeopathic preparations used by biodynamic farmers on soil, compost and plants that help build up the farm’s innate immune system and vital forces. In the 1980s, biodynamic farmers in the northeast U.S. used Steiner’s economic ideas to pioneer the concept of community supported agriculture (CSA), which has since been adopted by thousands of farms across North America" (https://www.biodynamics.com/steiner.html)
I prefer to think of Steiner as "old fashioned" rather than hippy dippy. Steiner's emphasis on soil health makes a huge difference in our garden and we hope you can try it out for yourself at home.
PS....Manna could really use a dumptruck of sheep and aspen + topsoil mix from Durango Nursery, if anyone would like to help out please email Brooke@thegardenprojectswcolorado.org