Natural Gardening

Posted to Subscribers on 21 April 2009


Dear Readers,

No, I will not name the product in question, for a number of reasons, one of which is that I work with principles, concepts, and broad matrices, not details, but I am trying to accomplish a bit.  First, I would like to motivate and empower you to take charge of your health.  Second, I would like to see a tremendous reduction in suffering worldwide; this includes people of all races and beliefs, animals of all species, and plants of every variety.  We have a very long history on this Planet.  Whether you take a Biblical view or a geological one, most of the experiments with our food and soil occured in the last "minute of time": they are less than a century old and we already know they are failing.

For those who forgot or who are new, Potent Protection is my variation of the historic Four Thieves formula and there is a lovely pdf with many do-it-yourself recipes:

To jog your memories a bit, there were some thieves who robbed the homes of people dying of the plague and the magistrate who tried the thieves offered a very tiny bit of leniency if they would divulge the secret of how they managed to avoid contracting the deadly disease.  My diffuser blend of essential oils is also a variation of the same idea and I hope soon to have a new line of diffusers from Europe.

As you realize, I have been overwhelmed.  I have, however, been running the diffuser near Tundra:  five minutes at a very low setting and then off for half an hour, then on again for five minutes.  After 2-3 hours, I stop and she told the animal communicator that she was aware of a lovely scent from spirit that was helping her to heal.  It's so interesting what she says because she has been more out of body than in and her journeys have been hugely informative for both of us.

The garden is also a do-it-yourself adventure and like most undertakings, I try to study the maps before departing.  A few ideas are crystal clear to me and others have not settled completely.  I remember reading about the Hunzas and their longevity 35-40 years ago.  I remember (and reported to you a long time back) the wonderful food I ate in Afghanistan in which a few bites were so nourishing that I was left feeling completely satisfied with very little.  I realized immediately that the quality of the food makes an enormous difference.

Nearly everyone upon whom I rely for input has emphasized the importance of the soil.  Just after the Mt. St. Helens eruption, I was talking to some people in Idaho and Spokane and they said that the potatoes had been tested and found to contain zero -- yes, that is right, zero nutritional value -- before the eruption but thanks to the minerals in the ash, the soil was improved and the quality of the famous Idaho potatoes took a quantum leap.  So, everyone has urged me to urge you to build up the quality of your soil through cover crops.  These are usually leguminous and I suddenly got the idea that I would like to try licorice instead of fava beans.  I readily admit to some eccentricity, but I am trying to find out a bit more so if there are some happy googlers who want to race me, go ahead and see what you pull together.  This would, of course, have to be the authentic Gly! cyrrhiza glabra, not some bogus whatever used for flavoring in the food industry.

Next, there is a web site in Tasmania devoted to soil and health: and I believe everything you ever wanted to know has been catalogued there.

Now, a few more tidbits.

I know quite a few of you are even more serious than I am about food.  In the old days, people had root cellars and they also preserved some of their harvests.  This may include canning and I do believe it can be done satisfactorily in a solar oven.  I would like to see some effort made in this direction so people can plan ahead in order that some of what they grow is still available in winter.  On a similar note, I am looking for a good (and simple) design for a solar food dehydrator.  Obviously, someone has to have thought about this and let his or her creative juices run wild.  I tried very hard to acquire a dehydrator, again and again, but I could not convince myself to go with plastic trays and other features that annoyed me.  Surely, someone has crossed this bridge and made it safe for the rest of us?

This is just part of thinking ahead and you will want to dry some herbs and perhaps some onions and carrots and so on and so forth.  Normally, you tie herbs together and hang them upside down to dry.  Alternatively, you spread them out on a clean white cloth, preferably one that has been washed enough times to get all the formaldehyde and other chemicals out of the fabric.

Over and over, I have urged you to get a good herb book that explains exactly how to process all the leafy as well as root parts of what you are growing.  Those of you who are getting very serious will want an herb press and maybe even a small essential oil distiller.  These are not expensive but they might have to be budgeted depending on your means.  I still like the Green book best:  The Herbal Medicine Maker's Handbook.

I believe it is important to organize and involve others.  Depending on your temperament and interests, the obvious candidates are schools, churches, retirement homes, tent cities, and local farmer's markets.

Now, I will speak out a tiny bit.

Some months ago, I visited the garden of a local gardening expert who was trying to destroy lawn and weeds through the use of cardboard (which can be quite unsightly) but I was uncomfortable, not just because of the eye sore but I know that many shipments are fumigated.  For instance, when my books are printed in Korea, the freight company requires that the pallets be fumigated.  This occurs after the boxes are loaded onto the pallets and wrapped in yards and yards of plastic.  Touching this plastic burns the skin, not to mention what it does to the sinuses.  In theory, the boxes, i.e., the cardboard, is not actually exposed to the chemicals, but I think this is a bit like splitting hairs because the boxes do off gas for quite a while.  Now, just for your peace of mind, the books themselves are individually shrinkwrapped and sealed inside the cartons before they reach the pallet! so the question really is simply how much of whatever they use lingers and what happens when you use cardboard for lasagna landscaping or planting potatoes.

Some judgment calls might be necessary and testing paper products for residues of mercury, dioxin, and other things is not a paranoid pursuit.  I would do it before growing things for the dining room table.  According to those who are using cardboard, it composts magnificently.  I took some pieces and put them outside just to see for myself.  I do not see any breakdown of the cardboard so call me Thomasina!

Of everything I have read and seen over many, many years, I have to say that Geoff Lawson spoke directly to my heart and soul.  If he can grow magnificent crops in the Dead Sea, he has methods that are precious. He is basically practicing a form of permaculture.  The other method that has resonated with me is called Fukuoka Farming, after its late Masaharu Fukuokafounder Masanobu Fukuoka, author of The One Straw Revolution.  If you compare permaculture and Fukuoka farming, you will find some obvious similarities but what is unique about Fukuoka is "no till" and this touches on my long association with Tibetan Buddhism because Tibetans are admonished not to harm any of the creatures in the soil so roto tillers and even spades are not used.  There are some lovely videos of farms in different parts of the world using various methods of farming but I have chosen to go almost entirely the Fukuoka route and build on top of what is already there, meaning some rough competition will eventually occur between the hardiest plants.

The method that many of you know best is biodynamic farming as taught by Rudolf Steiner.  What is interesting is that each of these approaches allows life to return to soil that has been tormented by chemicals, droughts, alkalinity, acidity, nasty run off and other hazards of the modern world.  I keep emphasizing the global nature of this dilemma.

I had an email this morning from the exporter of my new diffusers and then cannot plant because it is too wet.  In India, there are crop failures for lack of water.  The Congo has so many rivers that Europeans could hardly penetrate to the heart of the region but it doesn't mean that farms or villages have water because the water is not flowing where it is most needed.  These are immense problems and we solve them a few square feet at a time.

So, my last words tonight are about portable boxes that can be used to grow plants indoors or out, on the patio or balcony or even alongside the driveway.  One person calculated that he could feed his entire family with ten of these.

Go for it!

Many blessings,


Copyright by Ingrid Naiman 2009


Fukuoka Farming in first year, photo from archives of Emilia Hazelip, France.

No till, no back ache, no disturbance of the soil.

"Gardening the self-fertility way produces a rich harvest: the more plants which live and die in the soil the richer and more fertile it becomes."









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Copyright by Ingrid Naiman 2010

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