Yesterday we spent the morning in the rain, wind and cold as we enjoyed (really, it was fun) the next instalment of Traditional Gardening methods with Audrey. We started with a seed sharing workshop, no surprise our host has literally hundreds of different seed stores, from teas and herbs to peppers and seed potatoes. We chose to try the heritage purple potatoes. Audrey knows every detail of each type of plant, where and when to plant it, what area of your health it will benefit and how it propagates, fascinating!
We’ve discussed the complexity of traditional gardening methods, they’re deeply intertwined with First nations culture and mythology. After the seed share we learned about planting in accordance to the moon cycle. As with all our lessons, there are excellent reasons for using this schedule. The waxing and waning moon influences the water of the Earth, just think of tides. You can split each 7 day cycle into 4 categories, leaf, bean, root and rest. Not only can this help guide planting, but garden maintenance and harvest as well. Leaf describes plants that are harvested continually for fresh produce and produce seed outside of a fruiting body. Bean relates to longer growing times and any plants with a fruiting body, like squash, cukes and tomatoes. Root speaks for itself, carrots, beats, radish and potato. Rest is only a time of rest for the garden, cleaning, pruning and transplanting for the gardener, do not plant seeds during this time. We talked about listening to the plants, if you understand the silent language of the garden, the condition of the plants and insects themselves will indicate what the gardener needs to do. For example, during the warm season, many insects lay next years eggs on stems, if removed and composted in fall, you’ve killed an entire generation. Lady bugs rest for the winter under the leaf mulch, if you rake it too early in spring you lose out on these fantastic predators. Like wise, leaving fallen fruit to over winter provides food for butterflies and other pollinators who emerge before any flowering starts, ever wondered what they eat untill they find flowers? There’s so much information to impart that we’re going to break this up into a few different posts. In our next post we’re going in deep with the moon cycle, they’ll be charts and everything, stay tuned.