This is a sample of my typical weekend email 'bite sized biodynamics' with my own garden planning based on the biodynamic moon calendar. Get these weekly tips by joining the Blue Borage email list here.
Hello weekend, hello garden.
Are Saturday and Sunday days when you get the chance to put in a bit of concentrated work in the garden?
Maybe it's a precious hour or two, and you have to be super efficient?
If you are like many of the people I talk to, there is always a long list of jobs, and never enough time to get through them.
That feeling of never ever catching up was something that started to affect my love of gardening a few years ago, and I decided that rather than being extra organised in the weekends, it would be more fun to take all the pressure off, and tackle only three tasks, but enjoy the additional things that were done with a sense of fun.
That's how this weekend email came about - a conscious decision to do less.
I reckon the key to this method working is to do less, but do it often. Gradually, the tiny jobs add up to significant progress, and it also gets gardening into your weekly schedule as a fun thing to do at the end of the week.
If you're new to this weekend email, then welcome.
Sometimes I ramble for ages and drop links to podcasts, workshops, events and books. Other weeks I just pop in my perspective of the biodynamic moon calendar, and then get on with my own gardening.
Please excuse the irregularity.
What's the moon doing this weekend?
We're approaching the end of the ascending period. For me this is a sort of reflective, restful time - harvesting produce, picking flowers, saving seeds, planting seeds, and if I get organised enough, then stirring BD501, which is the beautiful Horn Silica preparation that gets applied in the first light of the day.
The constellation influencing the Moon this weekend is Virgo for Saturday morning and then into Libra. Virgo is an earth sign, corresponding to root crops like carrots, beetroot and turnips, and Libra is an air sign relating to flowers, including cauliflower and broccoli.
Note: Biodynamics uses a sidereal calendar, so the astrological names I'm using are the physical star constellations, this is different to what you see in Astrological reports.
My three tasks this weekend:1) It's a farm weekend! I LOVE the days when I have no commitments, no travel, no social events, and can just work on the land from dawn to dusk. Top job for me is to shape the garden beds at the little yellow granny flat in a section where I have quite happily let the kikuyu grass take over.
This will become a 'before' photo one day:
I love working with kikuyu grass, it reminds me of the Titirangi garden and how I developed that soil from hard clay to soft, crumbly, workable soil. I'll have to describe all the benefits of kikuyu grass in a blog post some day, as a lot of people look at me like I'm crazy when I say how much I love this stuff.
2) Ascending days in a flower sign mean sowing flower seeds. There are finally some flowers growing in the orchard here, and I'll tend to the fruit tree guilds with a jar of flower seeds to sprinkle round each tree.
3) I've got about six weeks left till my paperwork for the Hua Parakore organic verification is due. Pressure's on. It feels like a chance to explore my biodynamic methods and how they fit within the six categories of Whakapapa, Wairua, Mana, Māramatanga, Te Ao Tūrua and Mauri.
There's a question I'm pondering deeply this week, not just for my own composting, but for the role of composting within our larger food systems: "In what ways do you uplift the mana of Hine-Ahu-One in your kai production practices?"
One response is that if we were REALLY committed to respecting the soil deeply, then we would stop associating composting with waste management, and certain 'waste' products would never enter the food chain, even via community composting hubs. (Does single use compostable packaging add mana to anything? Like, really?)
Maybe, just maybe, the pathway to creating exquisite soil everywhere is to stop talking about 'organic protocols' and instead discuss how we uplift the mana of Hine-ahu-one.
If Hineahuone is a new term for you, here are some links to go read up on her.
You'll also find two books on Hua Parakore along with a few videos and other resources on Jessica Hutchings' website:
Instagram highlight of the week:
I found myself dealing with eight big boxes of seedlings, meticulously transplanted from seedling trays, many grown from seeds saved in the Titirangi garden, then carefully carried backwards and forwards from Raspberry Lane to Tuakau, and periodically fed biodynamic CPP, the cow pat pit preparation.
Growing food from seed like this is a totally different experience to buying ready-to-go seedlings from the garden centre, and I would suggest that this is what food resilience looks like.
It's such a relief to be able to walk past most of the vegetable section of the supermarket and not be locked into an artificial dependency on that very commercial, mechanised and wasteful model of food distribution.
This is the method I teach inside the course 'Foundations of Edible Gardening', at group workshops, and with my 1:1 clients.
The final update for this weekend is a new addition to the Blue Borage Gardening group over on Facebook. Davey McConnell from The EcoHelper has come on board as a second admin person inside the group. Fingers crossed it'll get easier to share new courses & workshops, and seasonal blog posts across each of the platforms I use: Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Teachable. The big question is: will she and Daphnah be able to help me tame my 12,000 photos and messy email software system?
We've got 17 days of autumn composting left - watch out for a winter seasonal programme coming soon.
How to work with Blue Borage: The online courses are just a taster of Blue Borage services. I also offer on-site consultations, remote compost coaching calls, and workplace edible gardening workshops. Book a free 15 minute call to diagnose the best path forward for your space.