Lecture by Alan Chadwick in New Market, Virginia, 1979
Lecture 6, Fertilization, Part 2
An Introduction to Alan Chadwick's Lectures and a Glossary of Terms
The full text of this lecture segment
Contents of this Segment:
History and fertilization for asperagus. Bracken fern, horsetail, and goosefoot. Wood ash and how to make and use it properly. Compost. Green matter is vastly superior to dead matter for the creation of compost. The effects of freezing on fruits and leaves. The need to conserve the gasses of decompostion in the compost process. Never leave weeds to dry out on the paths or their essential elements will dissipate into the water and air. Kitchen waste as a compost starter. Commercial compost starters (here Alan also alludes to the BD preparations "made by secret societies") are merely a business racket because nature provides all that is required most adequately. Trace elements. Tin cans as a source for iron and as a protection against gophers and moles. Change (metamorphosis) as the essence of fertility. Plants themselves are important soil builders. (13:37)
New Market, Virginia, September 11, 1979
Lecture 6, Fertilizations, Part 2
...plus in their performances, for instance for the use for the asparagus bed.
Asparagus being a word, as you realize, that came from the Greek senate, where it grows in the Aegean to a pound and two pounds a frond, as it grows enormous, great, wonderful stalks of asparagus. And “asparagos” in Greek means, hitten on the head, by translation you understand. They don’t have word-translation; it is phrase-translation. And that this was because it was used in the senate, who normally were very well behaved in Greece. They knew how to behave and they did not speak for more than their allotted time, two to four minutes or whatever it was. But that there were some that no contagion of manner could control, whereupon the so-called chairman of today was allocated the job of "asparagos." And simply after he had gone on for several moments too long: (clap) bong! And that was enough to do that without really harming. So it was always used in the senate.
However, forgive my diverging. But for the whole purpose of asparagus, which being an Aegean plant, it grows on the maritime coasts beautifully and therefore likes salt air, and must indeed have salt air, and must indeed have salt. So the best way of giving it salt is fresh seaweed. Don’t leach it out. Don’t bleach it or wash it out. Put it on the beds as it is in the fall, and it makes the most exquisite mulch, covering, compost, manure. And of course, that applies to other plants as well.
Bracken, Pteris, the fern, Equisetum, and Chenopodiums
Now some of the Chenopodiums also contain a silica salt and, of course, a forty percent fish manure, the alidum[?], Chenopodium alidum. But those are unique plants that I refer to there. Equisetum and… produces enormous quantities in silica, which you can actually shake off, which is a granitic dust and is of vital importance as a small degree in horticulture. And so is Pteris unique in that matter, as a covering and in many ways, and we will have to give it a special study on its own.
The use of wood ash, in all its forms, forming potassium
It must be made in the slowest possible degree, which we will have a special study on. For you understand that if you rake a huge room full of rubbish, like tree roots and switch grass and Convolvulaceae, things which are what we would call pernicious in the ground, and you burn them ad lib, well, you end up with a little pile on this table which is not much use to anybody. If you burn it in the proper technical manner, you will end up with at least half the room of live wood ash, which is equivalent to live lime. And that, when you apply it, is vitally more, in fact, is the most vital fertilization that there is. It will only last in its purport for about six weeks and must be used entirely separately, and must never, like eggshell or other such matters, this in particular should never be placed in the compost heap, never.
Compost and its variations
Numbers of studies of course. Principally one must look at this matter, that all green matter is eighty to ninety percent advantageous over dead matter for the compost, and that instantaneous or immediate. For I take an example here in the autumn leaves. You will notice that the green leaves on the trees, suddenly one morning after a frost, an unexpected frost that is always so infuriating, have certainly literally changed color in a minute. You have started a metamorphosis of acids into sugars, which freezing does in an almost similar way to what the marriage of the Sun does, by its marriage of making atmosphere, almost similar. As the Sun performance of atmosphere ripens a fig, so freezing ripens the acidities, which are in leaves and foliages, into sugars to preserve them for the winter. Now you would notice that that coloring slowly increases and turns from green to golden yellow, to brilliant vermilion. Oh what are you talking about? Can you comprehend this? It’s an absolute mystery, those changes. They are total, absolutely total metamorphosis, changes. And you will suddenly see that as that leaf actually falls from the tree and meets its shadow and both disappear, that that leaf, lying on the ground for a few days, still undergoes those metamorphosis changes, and goes from a wonderful flowered color, and you can smell it, and it’s full of incredible odors that exude from it, and gases. Those sugars are coming out. The whole of the totality is saying, “Give me. Spread like lightning.”
And these gases are going everywhere and are interloping all of the trees and the pastures. And everything is breathing it in and becoming excited with the "formosus" of sleep and death. It’s a gas that is taking a performance. And in a few days all those gases have gone out of those leaves and suddenly they’re extremely dried up, brown. The winds and breezes have blown through them, the water has gone through them. The four elements have performed their four performances of introducing the energies and they have totalized the whole performance of that drop. And now they contain nothing, in a sense, except certain skeletons. And all of those incredible sugars and things have vamooshed into totality. They’ve gone into the water. They’ve gone into the air. So that when the rain comes and the water flows, it will again be brought into the soil in its performances, with the elements as the intermediaries. But in those leaves, you have little left.
Likewise, when you weed a bed in the spring or the summer and you take out those luscious little green weeds and carelessly you might plomp them down beside you in rows on the path. Don’t! Apply them instantly into a container, whereby they’re covered. You are going to preserve your fruit in a jar to have it in the winter. You are going to do your apricots and seal them quickly before that beautiful preparation has gone. Now all of that greenery and the gases in that greenery are the whole matter. For it is warm, moist gases that compost makes.
And don’t forget that the manure of an animal is nothing other, really, than the compost heap formed by an animal in a different manner. The animal goes along like your mowing machine and eats up all the greenery and clover and seeds and flowers and then drops it out as compost, with all the seeds in it. So you mustn’t mistake compost and manure as being violently separated from that point of view.
Therefore I am alluding to the great urgency of getting green matter into the compost heap. Extremely overlooked. And that all the leaves as they fall: You almost want to be there with a sack catching them as they come down, do you see. Don’t leave them for days for the four elements to do what they want with them. Here it is, our duty, our work: conservatoiree. The four elements are totemism. They couldn’t care less about what humanity is doing in the garden. “You get on with that. I give you your gnomes and your fairies. They will help you, and your sylphs. But I am sorry. I have got my great work to do.” Therefore perceive the importance of that.
Now all of the dried stuff also has its import, for it makes structure, but in a totally different way. Therefore your green matter also makes a structure, but it’s a very different structure. Here you have a structure, with the green matter, that is already full of warm, moist gases. And the other is a container for those warm, moist gases. So you must see the huge difference there.
Swill from the kitchen, a matter terribly overlooked, is of the greatest importance for setting off compost heaps, as indeed is sour milk. A matter hugely overlooked today. It’s almost more important to put the sour milk on the compost than it is to have it ourselves. And of course, all vegetative water, boiled and cooked vegetable water, is a huge set-off. The idea of going to factories and having rather secret service societies [read Anthroposophical Society] for producing setters-off for the compost heap are, as you know, something of a commercial business racket. And that the garden supplies it most adequately if you will look into it through the keyhole.
Trace elements, ferrous and such matters, all come through the interplay of the interrelationship, the relationship and disrelationship, of the biodynamic system and don’t have to be particularly focused upon. Tin cans are a great purpose in the garden, both for use in the nursery and also, eventually, for rust and forming bases to different beds in the garden, particularly lawns. And such things as lawns―I don’t know whether you know all Olympic sports grounds are built on bottles and tin cans dumped by the hundreds of tons. It makes excellent drainage and it prevents those matters like gophers and moles and other things from disrupting the turf. They don’t get an inch. Now, with that list which I have just touched, comprehend that it is metamorphosis that takes place. It is turning acid into sweet into acid, which is what the food is, which is what the bee does with honey. It sucks the nectar from the flowers, the love element, which is not often or always sweet at all. It then mixes that with its spittle, with its acid blood, and turns it into what we call sweet honey. Likewise does the performance of, particularly, compost. Compost goes through a range of acidities into sweetnesses that are from the north pole to the south pole. And we will review this. They have the capacity of putting elements and minerals into the soil from the planets, from the north pole to the south pole in variation. There is nothing that plants can’t put and don’t put into the soil. We will review that a little bit more. But when one says acid into sweet...