Lecture by Alan Chadwick in New Market, Virginia, 1979
Lecture 5: Cultivation, Part 4
An Introduction to Alan Chadwick's Lectures and a Glossary of Terms
The full text of this lecture segment
Contents of this Segment:
Worms as natural cultivators. The danger of hard-pan to worm activity. The beneficial effect of deep rooted plants: alfalfa, comfrey, chicory, shepard's purse, etc. as ardent cultivators and promoters of worm activity. Warm moist gasses in the earth and in the air. Sloped soil in cold frames perpendicular to the sun. Soil textures promoting capilliary. (13:08)
New Market, Virginia, 1979
Lecture 5, Cultivation, Part 4
Of course at sometimes, if you want to have beautiful results, you’ve to go down there. And once you’ve loosened it, and manufactured it correctly, it will resolve itself, and gratify the whole purpose. So never worry about it; you must do it.
But, there comes a point at which you must say, "I can’t go any further. You know, I’ve gone down and now the whole earth’s going to fall down on top of me. And I’m not building a well. And I’m not going to shore it up." So what have we got? We’ve got the most inimitable forces to call upon, and they are the worms. Now the whole world screamed... especially the modern agriculture... screamed at the organic people when they kept on saying “worms, worms, worms.” They say “Oh, don’t be stupid. Put some nitrogen in the soil and get on.” Here is the point that it cannot be overestimated, this performance: The huge, huge, enormous force that the worms are to horticulture and agriculture. It cannot be sufficiently stressed, admired and utilized.
Now, there is something like—and you must forgive me because this would not be statistically correct, and the scientists would immediately ring up the president and have me locked up—but I will tell you that there are sixty-eight principal variety of worms, three of which do this disgraceful behavior on the putting-greens of golf-links, known as worm casts, at which they sweep and rake and curse, and put on poisons, and do every conceivable thing to stop these poor things going to their toilet. For that is what they are doing. Of course, the other sixty-five are behaving respectably…underground. And you must have noticed that those three that do it quite properly and respectably on the golf links, on the surface, as they should, are indeed the most valuable golf links assistants and should all have salaries every year, and tips from the golfers too. They probably don’t.
But if you look at that you will see these little holes through the grass, which is a form of aeration, or revolutionibus for drainage, in every form. And you will also find, if you inspect what is called the earthworm, that it is a very delightful mixture of manureal compost with soil with moisture. It’s a most incredible matter, almost as beautiful as the honey made from the bee with its spittle with nectar and pollen. It’s an absolute miracle. And worms, rather like goats, go at it all the time. The moment you go to show your pet goat to, you know, a friend… brrrrrrrr! And that of course is what worms are at all the time. An incredible performance. Now, those that are the sixty-five, do have their tunnels in which they travel, and then they have off-tunnels in which they do different things. And so, many of them are toilets. And so they are going to toilet in the soil all the time. As well as these fine little aeration holes that are not sufficiently in their tubes, deterioratory to any growth whatever [they cause no harm whatsoever]. They are beautifully additional to the revolutionibus performance.
But wherever you have got a hard pan, wherever you have any form of utter compaction at all, those worms will go into dormancy, both total summer and total winter. And they will only occupy and perform during the brief period of the equinoxes, which are the smallest period, two periods, of the year. And at those times they will do those duties, but only at those. And at those times you have the utmost nature with you, in any case. But, there is still the whole performance of nature with you. And here sits the performance of the cultivation of the deep rooteds. Now, little has it been thought of in the recent two-hundred years, or emancipation of the industrialization of farming, that deep rooted should be considered interplayed with shallow rooteds.
And here you have the whole performance of those plants that go from... Beginning with Lucerne, which is... "father of fathers"... Alfalfa. Alfa-alfa "father of fathers." Here you have a plant that will go down when it has to, when it requires to, sixty-two feet. Proved. And here you have Sanfoin that will go down twenty-six to thirty. And here you have the whole family of the Meadowsweets, belonging to the family of Rhubarb, Rue, which will go down fourteen, fifteen, sixteen. Symphytum, Chicoria, Endive, even the little Capsella bursa, Shepherd’s purse, called Shepherd’s purse because the sheep are so fond of it, and because it is a deep rooted. Its root is about four times the length of its top, and goes straight down. And many such. These are ardent cultivators, and drive down through the soil, right through those hard pans, into the depths they intend to go to find the capillary which is beneath those hard pans and those seizures.
Now, instantly, you have liberated the life of the worms. And they will occupy the two equinoxes, and the summer, and most of the winter, and they now become your inimitable cultivators. They adore to travel down beside the roots, building their tunnels, re-aerating, and toileting down to enormous depths, and operating all the year. So you have liberated this huge force simply by growing interweaving plants amongst your other plants which don’t go into those depths or into those hard pans. Now, the whole vision of that is only just being re-looked at. It came about through Biodynamics, partly, but not very much. It was occupied by the Greeks, by the Phoenicians, by the Egyptians, and certainly by the ancient Chinese. Therefore, that performance cannot be sufficiently pointed at. And that the rearing of all of those worms will be dealt with when we deal with fertilizers, particularly when we deal later with our subjects of compost, for the manufacture of those worms, with the utmost ease, by the millions every three months, and set them loose.
Now, please to revert your thinkings about plants. Think of plants as, instead of leaves, roots in the air. And now think of, instead of leaves in the air, leaves in the ground, in place of the roots. And now you’ve got a proper proposition of what really goes on. You’ve got warm moist gases, warm moist gases in the soil, and you’ve got a totally different type of warm moist gases in the air, almost opposite. And you have got that performance of leaves in the ground, breathing them in and sending them out into the air. And you have got those roots in the air breathing them in through the revolutionibus, down through the stalks, into the soil. At the different period of the revolutionibus, in its performance of inclinations and declinations, as to whether it is pulling or pushing. Therefore this compliance into the French Intensive bed from those plants is a performance of breathing-in and breathing-out of warm, moist gases. We will come to the whole of that, do you see, when we come to discuss fertility. We have married all of these three altogether, and create the word “fertility.”
Now you will perceive that in all cases, you have got advantages in thinking of escalations, even though to a degree you have to create those escalations, and even though they are very small escalations, they are a huge addition to that flat surface. You perceive, that when you place the soil of the cultivation of a frame, you place the bed inside the frame at the angle to the winter sun, and thereby you catch the perpendicular of the sun’s marriage, causing that beautiful atmosphere to be created directly out of the soil in that bed. And that if that bed were flat, it would be the same as at dawn only, in the winter, not at noon. And at noon, you’ve got the height of the marriage. Therefore you are creating the height of this beneficent marriage of the hands of God… the leader. If you understand that, because of what we discussed with the sun.
The law of capillary. We won’t touch this very much today, because we shall deal with it mostly when we deal with fertility. But, you can only obtain perfect capillary if you have breathable, fully drainageable, deep soils, where you must have textures, coming in variation and gradation if possible, towards the surface, and on the surface, approximately, two inch of friable. I don’t necessarily say powdery, I say friable, because that would constitute quite a different thing to powdery. Friable soil. In that you will get perfect capillary. If you have a powdery soil underneath, well broken up, at a foot down and more, you will never get capillary. If you get a beautiful subsoil texture of roughages rising, and a seizure on your surface, not friable, you will never get capillary. Well, I needn’t go into the negatives, having stated the positive. That is the way about. That you get excellent textures below, in other words, as rough as possible, something like the great Roman roads: your huge blocks at the bottom, on top of...