If you missed Part 1, click here to read the beginning of this story.
Above the diaphragm, the boundary encompassing all life, are the reproductive, endocrine, digestive, and gas exchanging organs of your farm body. As plants drop fruits that rot, as manure hits the ground, the powers of digestion can be found as these materials transform from living matter to food for your soil biology and ultimately your crops.
Utilizing cover crops in between cash crops not only promotes this digestive quality of your farm, through the added digestible organic matter, it also encourages more biological activity within the soil, as covers are generally sown thickly which can, in turn, stimulate a healthy soil ecology.
The reproductive organs of your farm body are represented by the fecundity of your habitat. Where there are layers upon layers of wild and cultivated flowering plants, fruits and vegetable bodies making seed, and the bees and native pollinators fill the skies, we know that the reproductive organ of the farm is healthy.
Plants are especially good indicators of this sort of imbalance. Most all of the organs of a plant exist outside their body. They require the surface of the soil and soil biology for digestion and circulation, and their endocrine system and reproductive system are totally dependent on pollinators.
When chemicals are introduced to these systems reducing pollinators or serious nutrients or soil biology have been lost through over-tilling or compaction, plants have a much more difficult time attracting the organisms they need to carry out their reproductive processes and the fruits and vegetables will drop in production and or become diseased. The reproductive wellness of the farm relies on management that promotes both plant and animal life on every level of the ecosystem and facilitates symbiotic insect to plant relationships.
The farm body is also tuned and harmonized by the movements of the planets. The Sun and Moon serving as the heartbeat, giving a rhythm to the plants and animals and facilitating growth and rest. The Moon governs all water within the farm body and care should be taken when planting or harvesting crops, based on its phase.
When the Moon is full or waxing, it is a wonderful time to sow crops, as the forces of the gravity pull the water up through the plants like the tides in the ocean. When the Moon is waning, it is a great time to harvest crops for storage as their water content will be lowest and produce will not be as likely to rot.
Planting seeds by the movement of the Moon through the zodiac, by utilizing a Biodynamic Planting Calendar, also aligns the farm body with the forces that govern the fruiting, flowering, leaf and root building. Sowing radishes when the Moon is in Taurus ensures that the seed is marked with the Earthen affinities that will enhance the growth of the root over any other part of the plant. Leaves should be planted when the Moon is in a Water sign, flowers in an Air sign, fruits in a Fire sign, and roots when the Moon is housed in an Earth sign.
All of the planets of the Solar System have their energies that affect every ecosystem on the planet, washing over the Earth in rhythmic waves. The closer the planet, the more day to day the influence, the further away the planet, the more long term and subtle the effects. (See Kollerstrom & Staudenmaier, 2001, in Biological Agriculture and Horticulture for more information.)
Managing the relationships your crops and livestock have with the dynamic working parts of your farm body is what creates production longevity and sustainability. The forces of the expanding Universe act as accelerators, if the farm organism is facing illness, the condition is likely to spread into varying levels of the ecosystem very quickly.
Ecological farming is about achieving balance through rhythm. When we look into wild spaces we see what appears to be unlimited lawlessness, but it is the nature of life that creation rests on the precipice between organization and chaos.
Adding boundaries to your farm; mulching and cover cropping, perennials and wild habitat, this is what brings about the chaotic biology enough to spur organization. The introduction of chemicals, foreign materials, and inhibition of the ecology under foot disrupts this symphony of moving parts and perpetuates ailments through biological imbalances.
Limiting tilling practices, reducing bare soil, planting in tune with the movements of the Cosmos, and rotating livestock daily can coerce the accelerating forces of the Universe into abundance.
Find all of Darby's posts here.
All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.
More than 150 workshops, great deals from more than 200 exhibitors, off-stage demos, inspirational keynotes, and great food!LEARN MORE