Biodynamic Gardening for Health and Taste
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What a beautiful, useful, mouthwatering book this is! This is one of the most well-presented gardening books ever to have been printed, and the very clearest explanation of how to garden biodynamically that has ever been written. Truly, this is the book that, whether they know it or not, gardeners all over the world have been waiting for.
What captures my heart the most about Hilary Wright's book is that she writes engagingly about biodynamics, the earth's rhythms, gardens, gardening, compost, and while holding your attention as if you were reading a page-turner, she weaves a picture of all of this (and more) being one thing, a whole. She does this in a way that is not just immediately comprehensible (it is most certainly that), it is also crystal clear that gardening within the unity of nature and using biodynamic methods is just not difficult. It's not difficult to make compost (she shows you several ways). It's not difficult to use the preps you need (i.e., the homeopathic preparations used in biodynamics), it's not hard to tend your garden and protect it in wholesome ways, and it's absolutely no problem finding ways to enjoy eating what you grow.
In other words, in addition to pulling it all together and making it clear, Hilary Wright has made biodynamics do-able by any gardener who wants to garden.
So grab your spade and digging fork, your seed packets and trog baskets, and head out into the world of nature that is your garden, no matter how big or small, whether in the soil itself of containers. The harvest you reap will be so much more than the wonderful vegetables you can grow.
What Is Biodynamics?
A Way to Heal and Revitalize the Earth
Seven Lectures and an introduction by Hugh J. Courtney
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In 1924—in response to questions about the depletion of soils and a general deterioration of crops and livestock—Rudolf Steiner gave eight lectures on “the spiritual foundations for a renewal of agriculture.” Based on his suggestions and spiritual science, generations of farmers, gardeners, viticulturist, and researchers developed biodynamics as a healing, nurturing, holistic, ecological, organic, and spiritual approach to a sustainable care of the Earth.
Biodynamic methods consider the farm or garden to be a self-contained organism, embedded in the living landscape of the Earth, which is in turn part of a living, dynamic cosmos of vital, spiritual energies. The aim is to increase the health and vitality of the whole, including the farmer or gardener. The biodynamic practitioner follows an alchemical, transformative path of working with the Earth through the nine “homeopathic” preparations created by Steiner.
What Is Biodynamics? collects seven seminal lectures—four on developing a spiritual perception of nature and three from his Agriculture Course, dealing with the preparations. Hugh Courtney of the Josephine Porter Institute for Applied Biodynamics contributes an informative, passionate, and visionary introduction.
Whether you are concerned with the quality of agriculture and gardening in particular or have a broader interest in the ecological crises facing us today, this book offers a transformative approach that can truly change the way we live together on Earth.
The Biodynamic Year
Increasing yield, quality and flavour
100 helpful tips for the gardener or smallholder
Compiled and edited by Angelika Throll-Keller
$32.00Add a review
In The Biodynamic Year, Maria Thun invites us all into her garden and takes us on a planter's journey through the year. At each point, she shows us how she thinks about her garden, and what she does to make it the verdent paradise that it is.
The book is organized in a one-tip-at-a-time fashion (thank you, Angelika Throll-Keller!), and in so doing, it is amazing the clarity that has been achieved. Between the hundreds of photos and clear drawings and Maria's text, I found that questions I'd been carrying for years about how or when exactly to do a variety of things were answered fully and completely.
A single reading of The Biodynamic Year has taught me more about gardening than any one book since my first reading of How to Grow More Vegetables way back in the 1970s. Needless to say, I will be going back again and again - it is one of those resources that, now that I have it, I never again want to be without. For that reason, I am also very grateful that the publisher chose to produce the book in a hard binding - I think it might well wear out if softbound.
Clearly, I can't recommend The Biodynamic Year highly enough. Combine it with Maria Thun's planting calendar (below), and your garden will grow as never before.
The Biodynamic Orchard Book
Ehrenfried Pfeiffer and Michael Maltas
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This book brings together the best advice for cultivating fruit trees, berries, and shrubs, using biodynamic methods with the aim of harvesting healthy fruit free of pesticides.
Ehrenfried Pfeiffer, a pioneer of biodynamics in North America, discusses the principles of tree biology before describing the measures that can be taken to develop a pest-free orchard without the use of chemicals. He discusses soil preparation, the selection of trees for planting, issues of transplanting and pruning, the application of pastes, green cover crops, and pest control, before describing the key biodynamic preparations and how to spray them with greatest effectiveness.
Michael Maltas ran fruit tree experiments on his biodynamic farm in Missouri for four years. The results are recorded in a highly practical annual spraying schedule for orchards, which is reproduced in this book. A month-by-month calendar gives information on specific methods and controls, based on Maltas’s extensive experience.
This is an invaluable book with practical advice on all aspects of planning and maintaining a healthy orchard.
This volume combines a thoroughly revised and updated edition of Biodynamic Treatment of Fruit Trees, Berries and Shrubs by Ehrenfried Pfeiffer and Orchard Pest Management and Spray Schedule by Michael Maltas.
Pfeiffer's Introduction to Biodynamics
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Ehrenfried Pfeiffer was a pioneer of biodynamics in North America. This short but comprehensive book is a masterful collection of three key articles introducing the concepts, principles and practice of the biodynamic method, as well as an overview of its early history.
Pfeiffer’s Introduction to Biodynamics was previously published by the Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association as Biodynamics: Three Introductory Articles. Both Bob and I are thrilled to see these articles back in print - they are as alive today as they were when they were written in the 1940s and 1950s.
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This course is the founding impulse of biodynamic agriculture and gardening. In it, Steiner gave instructions and explanations for tending to the needs of the Earth in a way that weaves together the forces of our Living Earth, human beings, and the spiritual world. What can arise from working with these methods is a restored Earth and a bountiful harvest.
Steiner mentions the origins of this course, and to me they speak so eloquently of the role of the individual that I am including his account here:
"I must confess, however, that it was not easy for Count and Countess Keyserlingk to get this course off the ground. It had been promised for a long time, but I did not manage to get there until Count Keyserlingk's nephew came to the Christmas Conference in Dornach with strict instructions not to return home without a firm commitment from me to conduct the course within the next six months. So when this nephew, who has a knack for making the most unlikely things happen, showed up here under those auspices, he was so persuasive that I told him the course would take place at the first possible moment. This turned out to be a Whitsun. And so it was a lovely Whitsun celebration, a truly anthroposophical Whitsun festival."
Sometimes, simple determination can change the world.
Carrots Love Tomatoes
Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening
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Louise Riotte first published Carrots Love Tomatoes in 1979 - and thus taught generations of gardeners how to see their gardens and the plants in them in a new way. Since then, Carrots Love Tomatoes has been revised, expanded, updated and has become even more widely known and beloved than ever.
Riotte's understanding of companion planting, and her practical experience with it exceeds anything else we have seen - including Philbrick and Gregg's Companion Plants and How to Use Them (which is prominently featured in her Biblography). Her familiarity with Biodynamics and Philbrick and Gregg's book simply leaps off the page just as her independent, deepened work with companion planting carries this work forward and has made it available and useful to many who have never heard of either of her predecessors.
I should add that we have used companion planting for years with great success and that Louise Riotte's book is both a rigorous resource and a delightful "read": she's warm, funny, and interesting in all kinds of ways. In fact, you may want to read it before you use it - once you put it in your garden shed (where, if you're like us, you'll go back to it time and again as you plant) it's likely that it will take on a patina of soil that will make it less than welcomed in your home.
Secrets of the Soil
New Solutions for Restoring Our Planet
Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird
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Secrets of the Soil tells the fascinating story of the innovative, nontraditional, often surprising things that certain scientists, farmers, and mystics are doing to save our planet from self-destruction -- such as using the techniques of Rudolf Steiner's biodynamic agriculture with its reliance on ethereal forces from the planets, Dan Carlson's growth stimulating Sonic Bloom, and rock dust fertilizer to revitalize depleted soils. Secrets of the Soil devotes the bulk of its more than 400 pages to describing the techniques and results of biodynamic agriculture - complete with dozens of photographs. This is a wonderful resource and an ideal place to begin your own hands-on work toward restoring our planet.
A How-to Guide
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This is a most welcome addition to the newly-expanding "how-to" literature on biodynamic gardening. This hour-long video features Joe Tooker, a master biodynamic gardener with over 25 years experience, explaining in at an easy and enjoyable pace how you can transform even the most unpromising setting into a beautiful, living and productive gardening. The biodynmic method rejuvenates the soil as it restores health to our Earth - and results in some of the best-tasting fruits and vegetables that will ever grace your table. This video offers an inspiring introduction to these methods and their results - so inspiring, you'll be inclined to get started the minute the tape comes to an end!
Goethe & Palladio
Goethe's study of the relationship between art and nature, leading through architecture to the discovery of the metamorphosis of plants
David Lowe/Simon Sharp
$15.00Add a review
The poet, dramatist, novelist, and scientist, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe had to wait many years before he was able to travel south to Italy, "the land where the lemon trees bloom." He had gained success in several fields, but he had a sense of being trapped and confined and felt a need for light. Italy would give this to him in a number of ways.
Taking as their basis Goethe’s Italian Journey, the authors of this fascinating and unusual study explore how Goethe’s experience of Palladio’s architecture influenced his view of the relationship between art and nature in general and, in particular, helped him form his understanding of metamorphosis, leading to his discovery of the “archetypal plant.”
In his carefully written account of his travels, Goethe seems to oscillate between experiences of architecture and experiences of nature. In nature, he searched for the "archetypal plant," the essential form whose metamorphosis through time would produce the plant we see in its cycle from seed to fruit. In the art and architecture of antiquity and in Palladio’s classical reformulation of it, he tried to understand the purpose and function of artistic creation.
Until now, no one has put these two together. David Lowe and Simon Sharp show for the first time how these seemingly unrelated subjects are related—how the living geometries and volumes of harmoniously proportioned buildings, the “great idea” of architecture, can lead to the intuition of similar principles in nature.
David Lowe and Simon Sharp have worked together for twenty-one years. One of their first projects was the recreation of Goethe’s Italian Journey. They have given numerous workshops and presentations on the subject in the U.S. and U.K., including The British Museum, the German Embassy, and the Edinburgh Festival.
This is must-reading for anyone interested in Goethe's ideas on plants and metamorphosis.
The Living World of Plants
A Book for Children and Students of Nature
Dr. Gerbert Grohmann
$16.00Add a review
This book can be thought of as a distillation of Grohmann's extensive two-volume study, The Plant. Here, the material is presented in a way that will engage both younger students and the adults who teach them. I find that in many ways, The Living World of Plants, is much more powerful in its capacity to evoke awe at the truly amazing world of plants than his more detailed presentation in The Plant. If you are not conversant with the plant world, but would like to be, this is the book for you. An excellent source book for teachers of all grade levels, whether in school or at home. Can be useful as a reader for children grades 5 and up.