Agroecology Techniques for the Fall

| 10/12/2015 10:10:00 AM


Leaves are falling. Time for planting low, small, leafy foods. It is also the time for clearing vines, melons, squash and sorghum. The yam harvest and pumpkin gathering will happen soon here in Atlanta. All the summer plant growth is a crucial organic ingredient and fuel for the compost alchemy. We are offered this season for refinement as well. Integrate the sweet, steamy lusciousness of summer inspiration for a deepening of purpose. The soil is cooling. All the moisture held in the mulch will be distributed to the plants and microbes.

Over the next few lunar cycles, we will plant fruit trees and berry shrubs. Garlic will be planted between the next full and new moon. We have begun opening compost piles and adding the finished material to planting beds for transplants. Collards, kale, broccoli, turnip, cabbage and mustard are already standing tall. The sunchokes are blossoming and soon they will lay to the ground signaling us to come dig up their delicious tubers. This week, we saw the first healthy wild oyster mushroom fruit from its usual spot on the planting mounds. It is cool enough now.

This is a brief sketch of agroecology in the urban, Southeastern region of the United States. In Pierre Rabhi’s book As in the Heart, So in the Earth: Reversing the Desertification of the Soul and the Soil, we get a lesson in indigenous Earth care and capital-driven mind control. Agroecology is the term that Rabhi created to resonate the balance that his practice of agriculture encourages.

We are all in need of balance. Our planet is reflecting the urgency of that need. The change of seasons is an obvious signal for preparation and cleaning. This is the transition period where the new branch growth of fruit trees, vines and berry patches can be observed to help inform pruning decisions before they drop their leaves. Tasting cold-hardy kiwis and passion fruit after they fall to the ground punctuates why the highest nutrition and precisely perfect flavor must be harvested when ripe. This is nearly impossible in commerce-driven food culture.

This Good Food Movement, as Will Allen talks about, can be refocused around high quality, supreme flavor and vibrant energy signature. This is possible when food is grown in dynamic systems of diversity that are close to home.

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