Alan Chadwick a Gardener of Souls

Lecture by Alan Chadwick in Saratoga, May 16, 1972


Lecture 3, Part 3.13

An Introduction to Alan Chadwick's Lectures and a Glossary of Terms

The full text of this lecture segment




Continue to Lecture 3, Part 3.14

Back to Lecture Index Page


Contents of this Segment:

More questions from the audience: Cover your swill with soil immediately, then begin again with green matter in the compost; Three methods for digging soil.



The Full Text of this Lecture Segment:



Villa Montalvo Lecture Series

Saratoga, California, 1972, Lecture 3,

Fertilization, Part 13



Q: …Is it better to put the grass clippings into a separate pile, or to put them on an existing compost pile?

A: Either way is about equal, not much odds.


Q: On the compost pile, are you talking about just one layer of each thing between green matter…

A: Yes, definitely, the important thing is this: That you can go on having green stuff ad lib; you can have a huge quantity of it. I mean, you can say three foot, if you like. Then you’ve got to have your swill ready. It takes two or three days to get a good swill going. Plunk that on it. Now, the moment the swill is on, you’ve got to do something, and that is place soil on it. Do you understand? Otherwise, you are going to have cats, dogs, skunks, flies, and everything else. So it’s a procedure, the moment the soil is on, the whole problem’s finished, and then you start on your green matter again. So, your green matter can go on ad lib. But you must keep your watering going, also. Don’t let anything dry out. Clear?


Q: ... [ ] matter

A: No, indeed not. It waits until your swill is ready. The day your swill is ready, on it goes. Some people have a lot of kitchen waste. The more, the better. And you should all try to get other people’s who waste it. Well, it is absurd that any of this vital matter, you know, should all go and be deposited nowhere. It’s an utter madness. And then people say well  there isn’t enough organic matter to grow. Of course, there is.


Q: Don’t you think the swill would run you out of the home?

A: Oh, I assure you, it’s never run me out of the home. You see, what you can do is… You needn’t keep it in the house at all. You can keep a bin with a lid on outside. And I assure you, it doesn’t make a noise, for two days. Ma’am, you must realize something, we’ve got very over-scientifically clean. We really have. It’s quite obscene, the way we’re clean.


Q: In your planting beds, every time you plant a new crop, do you take out your raised bed and then...

A: No. You’ve asked a very, very excellent question. No, you do not. You can keep these going for a long time. For instance, if you make a huge... Just taking an example of the matter, if you make a huge herbaceous border, this herbaceous border with its huge basis can last for ten years. So you dig with care. And this is why there is so much hand manipulation in this form of culture. It’s practically all hand manipulation and you know just where you are, and you needn’t disturb. You see you don’t use a hot bed in the summer. You use a hot bed and a decomposing bed in the winter, generally. Therefore you can re-lay it again with your fall operation, and set it up, ready for the early spring. Do you understand?


Q: [Inaudible]
You can do three methods. Were you here for “Cultivation”? You were. Then you must have heard me mention three methods of digging: Slide digging, turn digging, and side digging. Turn digging you turn the whole soil over, and you work the subsoil with a fork the same depth. With a spit. You take a spit, you turn over the complete thing, having thrown out a ditch. Having got that ditch, you turn over a complete spade-full, or you slide dig.





Return to the top of this page