Transcript (click to expand)
May I pick up from last week? I tried to bring home an enormous focus which has got to play through not only all our work, but all of these talks that we’re going to add. We want to apply it. It’s this astonishing friendship marriage. So I spoke of the Sun from that point of view. Of the miracle of dawn, of what happens, and out of absurdity and verbosity and talking about light and heat—which is so false a word-ism that we just accept it and don’t perceive that the miracle is a marriage of the leader over one of the family, the Earth. Marrying each day the ego and demanding that the ego of the Earth come out and meet it and expose itself in all its good and bad, that its functions may formulate and live.
It’s important to bear that in mind with the whole présentement of the French intensive bed. You understand that that word ‘French intensive bed’ is a coined phrase, just like ‘biodynamics’ is, and you must start to entertain it as a performance. It is the great performance of introduction to revolutionibus. But you must also perceive now that it is not from soil that the plants grow as a food issue. It’s more out of atmosphere. It’s revolutionibus. Therefore, the soil must come into the entity that it is. Changes take place in that soil every day, every week; and they’re opposites at different times of the year. It’s difficult to place that in our mind today because we are so mechanical.
I want to refer, before I go into the French intensive bed and its formation, which is going to be highly practical: we have to comprehend the totem-ism of Nature. That when you burn something, or when you compost something, the gases out of that compost heap, the gases out of that fire, disseminate into totality.
As an introduction to that, we think we make electricity. We make a dynamo, we make a turbine, a dynamo, and we say that we create and make electricity. It’s complete rubbish. It is nothing other than the performance of the energy, God flowing. You could not make any electricity at all if this energy did not flow out of space. And therefore, do you perceive the calumny of making all electricity in one place, and sending it out everywhere? You have got a thing like a vortex going on! The energy of God is flowing in like mad into that machinery, and coming out as energy, just as food goes into us and comes out as energy. You see the idiocy of thinking that the president of the government could eat our food for us, and send us the energy. It’s the same thinking.
Therefore, I want you to look at this thing called lightning. Now do you see, there’s a word, you’ve immediately thought of it. You’re quite wrong. You’ve stopped yourselves from knowing anything about it. Because you immediately said, “I know. Yes, lightning. Yes, I know.” Rubbish! Lightning is the same matter. It is totem-ism reversed to conservatoire.
Now the performance of all the plants, the performance of the dog, the performance of the tree, is an issue of ego, conservatoire. That ego is like the Earth according to the Sun. It has its periods of when it must restore itself to make conservation around itself. And that all the time the great leaders are trying to open out and share everything equally. All life is a conservatoire. It’s a performance. It’s a destiny.
Therefore, referring to lightning, you would say, “Oh, we haven’t had a storm for a long time. I haven’t seen lightning.” Rubbish. Absolute rubbish. The only reason that you see lightning is that it has come to the excruciating point in the area where there are actual pockets of not-total-ism. That either in the soils or in the rocks, deep down or shallow, or in the atmospheres, there are actually pockets which are not total-ism. And that what you see is a pfsst. “Oh! It’s the electricity. There’s lightning. Goodness!” Well of course it’s going on all the time. It’s going on all the time.
It’s merely that that is an excruciating, eccentric period because of sudden changes in climatics of temperature, and such like.
Therefore, do you see, when lightning is forked it means that there are cavities in the deep rocks in the soil that are not totem. And when you see it as sheet lightning, it means that there are pockets in the airs above the ground. They are immediately thinning out and you see a flash; which means that it’s immediately totem-ized.
I want you also to look at this matter which is not often easy today: the Moon is silver and the Sun is gold. The Sun pushes and the Moon pulls. Here you’ve got these opposing forces. Now you must realize that the Moon operates and magnetizes nine-tenths of the moisture. Now you begin to see what the Sun does. It’s nine-tenths of the opposite to moisture. Therefore, you will find that all the springs rise in the very tops of the mountains; right up at the very top. And there it lets loose the little, tiny veins which run into the arteries, which run into the streams, that run into the rills, that run into the rivers, into the deltas! That’s exactly the same as we’ve got in us, in our veins.
Therefore, this matter of—it’s in a sense a part of the word ‘capillary’—is always being drawn up, and if there weren’t mountains, it wouldn’t. So you begin to see that you can forget the word ‘mountain’, and you see a whole divine principle of performance of the flow of the four elements. And you must not think of fire, which Prometheus brought to us in the stick of fennel. This word ‘fire’ that we use, which is electricity in the kitchen, or lighting a fire; that is fire. But you must think in the elemental form of firmament. That is the alchemistic term for it, which is entirely different. You must think of your moistures, in contrast to that. Because to understand the French intensive bed, that is necessary.
Once more I refer to—and this is all an interplay in the beds—these are the keys. You will not need statistics if you consummate the inner understanding of the performance.
Life gives life. Death gives death. And life into death, into life. You understand in the whole homeopathic principle—and they’re beginning to discover it again in veterinary work, that you give the most intense poison when the disease is intensely poisonous at its worst moment. You give an intense poison like hellebore (Helleborus). And instantly, you’ll get a flashback into a positive; and then you must apply a positive. Therefore, I repeat the word: life gives life.
I take you back to the carnation bed. That when you have a carnation plant in bloom, the first one in a whole bed of carnations, if you pick it, the rest of the carnations will not come into bloom as quickly as they would if you had left it. In other words, if you pick that carnation, you will have to wait, shall we say, five days for any more to come into blooms. If you had not picked that carnation, there would have been more carnations in two days. Likewise, if you go to that carnation bed when it’s in full bloom, and there are dead blossoms in it that have not been removed, you will find this matter: a dead carnation to age. It’s surrounded by beautiful, full-blown blossoms dying because of the vicinity of death. Totem-ism.
Everybody rides a skateboard today; all the kids, every one of them has got a skateboard, totem-ism. They don’t think. They don’t know whether they want it. They just do it, thank goodness. Likewise, you will perceive in that carnation bed, not only are the beautiful full-blown blossoms around that dead blossom dying, but you will even find buds not open at all. Now do you see the idiocy of verbosity? We’re only thinking of words in our minds—buds, flowers—we cannot see the cycle.
Now you must live in this. You must give up thinking in words. Your mind must become a corridor. And from it must flow eternity through this corridor into fulfillment through techne through the visible. So that carnation procedure is very important in this view of the French intensive bed.
The real gardener is a reflection; not made. You see the importance of this. How delightfully that rings in the ear like a bell; instead of another instrument. Are you aware that the growth at night is the very opposite to the growth of day? The growth of night is lengthening, latitudinal, longitudinal. The growth of day is totally different. It’s just like the magnetism of water, or the Sun doing that. You see all through the day it’s—woof, woof, woof, sniff, sniff—open, blossom, fruit.
They’re too difficult to put in words, they’re too secret. But you must survey into this, and you must sense it and feel it. This is where you must empty your mind of this word-ism and come to be what you might call pictorial visionary. That performance in the day is totally different to night, there’s a key for you, and a vitally important key. So don’t put it down because the world is not looking at it. The world of agriculture today has not seen what this is.
The growth at night, which is the very opposite to the day, is an elongation, and that the growth on the dark side, the shade side, during the day, is more than twice the amount of the other side, light.
Now you must go into this because you can’t think it in words. These are visionary matters. That immediately must explain to you that if you can see you’ve got two different growths going on a stalk, you will see what happens. It must turn over. And then during the day it says, “Oh, crumbs”, and does that. You see, you can’t go into a laboratory and discover that because they can’t tell it to you. They will tell you the mechanical is different that side to that side. How very clever. You understand that, I’m sure. Well, I don’t.
Now you must look at something. These growths, day and night, are most exquisite during the two equinox-ial periods. Do you understand that there are the winter flowers, the summer flowers, the spring flowers and the fall flowers. Some of them do it in both. Some of them entirely, are credited with one. Some plants are social and some love to live singly, refuse to have anything to do with anything else at all. And the others simply can’t live without an ambuscado of everything. Some live only by three or four variations. “Oh, do come in today, will you? And yes, you. No, no, not you. You. Come in, yes. That works.” These are all because of the planetary procedure, the government. You must discover those. They’re very secret. They’re not written today. Nobody understands them anymore. We’re too busy. You can’t do it if you get in and out of a motorcar all day long.
Those behaviors must be looked at in your French intensive bed because they must work your interplays. And those interplays vary in areas. You can’t write it for the world. All the soil in the world is never going to be six, six, six.
Now, I’m going to say this to you which is a key also. You only water your garden, that it shall dry. And you adore it to become dry so that you can water it. Now you must look at that, because that’s the whole key of your performance. And here is a balance which eliminates the absurdity of good and bad.
The two equinoxes are the two beautifully balanced periods, when there is neither excessive light or excessive dark—they are equal, light and dark become equal. In the spring equinox, that equality is an opening out, all the time, and is the voluption of falling in love. The fall one is equal light and equal dark, but is a closing down, slowly, of adoration of sleep and rest, and death—the very opposite. Therefore, if you will look at that, you will begin to perceive that those are the two periods of what you would call lush performance. The elements are not vindictive. Here is the whole reason of the arithmetic of the French intensive bed. Do you perceive that when one talks about this growth of one side in shadow, coming out of dark, being different to the light side, it is too singular-ized. The more singular-ized you make a plant, the more you’re going to get that extraordinary, almost, you might say, mis-performance.
When they’re all close together, and have an atmosphere, you get very little of that. In other words, this beautiful thing of equality in the garden is a conservatoire. And this conservatoire is part of the whole embellishment of the garden itself, of our approach to it.
So, now, you must not imagine that the performance of Nature is out of accord. The exquisiteness of the human being is a directoire on this Earth, of the whole angelic performance of the plant. Without the angelic performance of man in the garden, the plant is wild and has not true destiny directoire. And that when man has lost his own sense of directoire, idée, he can regain it through the manipulation of this and the discovery through it.
The French intensive bed, then. The proposition is to take soil, to produce the requirements, and to have that soil in more perfect operation, and condition, and nutriment than when you began. When you take the crop out of a French intensive bed, if you have worked technically correctly, that bed is vastly superior in every manner to what it was before you sowed
the seed or the plant. You must look at that because it’s very important. It’s very opposite to today’s procedure, which is piracy. “I don’t care what I do to the land as long as I get the money out of my pocket out of selling the beans.”
Well, I’m not being vulgar. I don’t want to be negative. But today there is no performance of the positive, so you can only look at the positive because you are aware of the negative. This is very disastrous because that’s the whole reason of most people’s organic focuses today, and therefore, they’re falsely placed. It’s the beatific joy that is the matter.
I will give you the technical performance of this bed in a few minutes. I want to talk about its actual performance. It can be constituted in several ways. Primarily you must think of these different beds in the areas relating to each other at large, and relating to the area. You must think of interplay of deep-rooted beds running between the shallow rooteds, and even deep-rooted growings in shallow-rooted growings; but very largely, the beds alternating. In that way you get your worms operating throughout the area, even in beds that are entirely shallow. Also, it brings about a constitution of the performance of insects and worms that no other system can possibly come anywhere near its achievement.
Since you get an enormous multiplication of insects out of this method, you will realize it is very essential to run some form of livestock in the dormancy periods to keep the balance.
Something like geese or guinea hens, or a few fowls now and again, at the right time running through the area, and cleaning it all up. If you look then at the fertility of this bed that you are going to produce, you are going to increase fertility. And fertility is the marriage of cultivation, fertilization and propagation. When those are balanced and interwoven, you have the word fertility.
Now please understand, and I explain something of the ancient Greek here, that when you plant a grove of trees there comes into that grove of trees the invisible bodies: nymphs, dryads. You could all laugh if you want to, but most of you here already have a sense of that; you’re aware of it. You’ve only to stand within the perimeter of an evergreen oak, and you realize that it governs the smell and the atmospheres, and that there are things performing at times when you’re there and when you’re not there, which we’ve got no intimate control, other than, within its area. We are inclined only to be able to look at enormities. If you will see then, the plants do exactly the same thing, but much more finite.
Therefore, when you have a group of plants that are performing like a grove of trees, you have a birth performance going on within it. You must know how delightful it is in a huge water meadow on a hot summer’s day, that extraordinary sense of vibratory, odor, moisture and everything going on that’s living madly with delight; and of bodies that are not visible. This is a performance of Nature which it adores. And man is the great ordinator of it, the great directoire.
Therefore, as you have here, in groups, in pools, you will sense this matter. You put your hand inside a bed of potato plants, as you’ve got up there, or a closely grown row of peas, you will feel an elemental atmosphere inside when everything else is either scorching, or wind blowing, or freezing, and it’s totally different. In other words, the plants are performing their duties to the utmost of their angelic procedure because man has played his angelic procedure into it. And therefore, the foliages and the roots have the performance either in the negative or in the positive of dealing with the elements. But the internal structure, which is the high sense of the nervous system, is two inches under the soil and two inches above; an area of discontinuity, the very skin of the Earth, the delicacy.
Now you understand that when you appropriate yourself and you damage the top—and when you water it, it becomes congealed in no time—there’s something wrong. Your technique isn’t working. You understand that when the Sun shines heavily in the noon, it is making this huge marriage and it can’t stand this enormous amount of love. It isn’t meant to, because the angelic performance of the plants is meant to make the most exquisite mantle over it. “Oh, do get me a
Sun shade, please.” But in the evening it wants it.
Now you must look at this whole matter then. You’ve got to produce in the soil, and you’ve got to produce in the plants, thermal control, induction of capillary, and that the very foliages of the plants themselves will ordinate this control of the violence of the elements. Now, so that you can understand that more, you might understand this is very technical, and it’s very difficult to follow it in words. If you’re having difficulty, make murmurs and noises and I’ll try and go in a different direction. Are we alright so far? Are you sure?
Then let us look for a moment, since health is so enormous, let us look at the word ‘disease’. This will give you a whole answer to the French intensive bed. What is disease? You see, you can’t cure a disease. A person is ill: you can’t cure the disease. We’ve all got it. We’ve all got every disease there is. You cure the person. They’re out of balance.
Now you have this matter that is within the plant. The plant comes out of a seed, and seed comes out of darkness. Therefore, in seed is the utmost idée, and the least metamorphosis. As the plant grows, you increase the metamorphosis around the same amount of idée. Therefore, think you of the word idée as the very central juice that was in the seed, the embryo. If you can think of that, and having to extend into roots, and extend into branches, the protein of that idée is traveling out into metamorphosis. And all of the elements are in agreement; they are beatific. But the moment that those juices that we are calling protein is not supplied from the atmospheres, from the gentility of the atmospheres, and the control of the thermal controls, the moment that those juices, one particle of it, gets separated from the totality of the body of idée, it is disease. You have immediate disease. And it is the duty of the four elements to become malefic, and destroy. That is death. And what a beautiful thing it is. It puts right a mistake. If you could comprehend that, you will see the balance of health, and the interplay of man in this performance in the garden for the plants.
You will produce in the performance of the soil, of the bed, capillary and control, so that the contents of the soil and the atmosphere and the plants themselves will interplay and preserve an equinoctial amenity. It isn’t a word, but you understand it. Inability. That the moment that the plants begin to grow, they should be sown or planted in such a manner that they will keep within the bed the warm, moist gases. It is both the roots and the hairs and the leaves that live upon warm, moist gases (inhales, exhales as an example). They’re feeding all the time in this. This is their life force. The more there is of that (inhales, exhales) throughout the night and the day, the happier they are. The more luscious is the growth. This is what you must look to. This is what you must be highly sensitive to.
Therefore, the construction of those beds leads to the preemption that you are going to produce all the time warm, moist gases that those roots will be excited in, and travel, during the periods of reception, for there is the inclination and the declination. There is the period when the plants put out into the air, and there is the period when the plants take out of the air and put into the soil. And the plants vary in this performance. Some do it much more than others. There are the givers and the takers. But do they all give something, and something that you cannot discriminate between. So you can’t throw out a plant because it isn’t a giver. We have to learn from it. Part of the further discovery.
Therefore, when you have made those warm, moist gases perform in that bed, the control of the foliages of those plants must now enact as the protections. They must cover the whole of that area as quickly as absolutely possible. You must do this with your weeds. Your weeds will give much more vital breathings than your plants. They have more strength, more resuscitation to totem– ism. The plant is somewhat addicted to the egotism of the mind. It’s been cultured by us, and is meant to. Here enters conservatoire; a beautiful thing, really.
Therefore, you will see that the foliages of these plants then, will perform a suffering. They will perform an action that is sacrificial. When the wind blows in burning darts, or when the wind blows over-cold or over-wet, it is the foliages duty to say, “Ta da, you keep off there. Keep up. Keep up. Throw it up.” And when the Sun shines too hot, it is their duty to be fed by this breathing and held up. And likewise, according to frost, according to too much sunshine, according to water. Do you see how dangerous it is, to water splashing on the bed? You know that you must always water, even the roses of a canvas do that, and not that. For the moment you start that, you get seizure.
And seizure on the skin of the Earth, it’s like having plaster all over your arm! You skin is going to suffer in no time and will break out in diseases. And just the same with the soil. It is the very neck of plants, the neck of plants which is the crown présentement, which is just coming out of the soil that is the whole danger area of throttle-ization, which plants can’t tolerate. They can’t bear seizure on their necks. It’s like us, here, with the diaphragm.
Therefore, that area is most particular. It’s the most dangerous area in everybody’s garden because of cultivation. That must tell you that you may only cultivate at certain times of the year. However, with these beds you can cultivate it almost any time for the simple reason that that cultivation is done in a few hours, and then performed and planted. You are over-riding the exactitude of the ordinary performance of the cycles and introducing man’s great art of his vision of Nature and bringing into a beatific management. A multiplication of marriage which is the word ‘fertility’.
The construction of these beds then. Here you have got the utmost performance of those plants breathing the warm, moist gases down in the soil, into the area of thermal control amongst the foliages, and held by the deep roots and the surface area. Therefore, your sowing and your planting of those beds must bring about immediate coverage. And you must, indeed, sow weed seeds with those crops when you sow carrot. However much you may dislike that business of getting on your hands and knees and weeding for two days, it’s imperative. For the performance of those weeds will occupy a performance in that bed that nothing else will.
Certain plants are as hedges to produce shade, that you can have spinach and things growing underneath right into July before you go on to your north slopes. And your snow pea will grow excellently on a north slope or a west slope, and shade your salads and your spinaches in those beds. And that that pea can climb up a wire in the middle of a French intensive bed, let in, in a slight trough with your bed.
Understand that so many plants are really semi-alpine. They all love hillocks, they all love raised positions. Now one of the huge importances of this French intensive bed is not only now that you’ve got perfect drainage, and also drainage up, the interplay of capillary, but far more than that, is it will play in winter as well as summer. That wherever you have got a variation in height, you have got movement. You will notice that as you go up a hill, you run into drafts and little breezes which you never get in stagnation of a hollow. In a flat you get a stagnation. So that you not only get what is known as a frost pocket, but you get a scorch pocket because both the freezing and the heat sits and does that. But you see, the moment that you have an escalation, you’ve got flowing air going on, you’ve got change, you’ve got the interplay of the revolutionibus.
Now the more you use escalation with these beds, perceive that you have an area of the bed which is exposed to the utmost revolutionibus, if you have all your beds with walls either side.
And so now we’re back at the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, which is exactly what they were, though on the sides of the Euphrates, where every year they had the most calumnious storms that brought down vast sluices of mud and water and wiped out everything. So what did they do? They built exactly these French beds on top of esplanades on pillars. They used reeds underneath, they used a bitumen-astic on the reed, a natural bitumen-astic, and on that they placed the French bed. But the whole of that was the very first semblance of this matter.
Do you realize how beautifully begonias grow in baskets, hanging? To all sense it doesn’t add up at all. You know, a boiling hot day, and there’s a basket hanging up. And do you realize how very little water they use? You know, you water them more than the other, but you water very little. And the whole of this is revolutionibus.
So you must get out of your head that either deep soil, or flat soil is the answer to growing. The most beautiful way that you will ever grow superb wheat is in these raised beds. And they’re so easy to handle. You can make them oval or round or elongated; anything to suit your purposes. But let them be manipulate-able.
May I talk with you about the potato for a minute? Nobody knows today how to grow potatoes anymore. You should be able to get between ten and twenty pounds of potatoes from a tuber, if you grow it properly. And you should be able to get a potato that has a superb flavor, and it has a beautiful texture, and it has health. The only fertilization required for a potato—and you can apply to Doubleday research who’ve been a hundred years on this—is the composted Symphytum (comfrey). Symphytum will compost when cut, within six weeks, summer or winter. There’s no difficulty in making it.
Now, the moment you give manure to Solanum (nightshades), you’re into the realms of disease. There is no point in doing it. The plant that is Chenopodium completely makes such a matter unnecessary, and Sonchus (sow thistle), and fenugreek. Those plants, in particular. The only fertilization that you really require for a good potato is good turf loam, good compost, and sharp (sand). However it is the method of growing that is the importance.
Now this belongs to the world of the Andes; for that ought to answer it immediately. Also, you must realize that the tubers come from the roots. And the roots are made by the plant, and the plant is made by a parent.
So here’s your first notation. Whether you want early, middle, or late potatoes—and you can have potatoes all through the year here—you can grow them in frames perfectly, but you must get the right potatoes. You can’t get really good potatoes in America any more, the varieties have gone, the beautiful varieties. I can’t talk on that right now. I will tell you anything you want about that; I will try to tell you what I know.
The method of growing, then, is to take your potato and chich it. Chich it for at least a month, or even six weeks. Full light, no exact sun scalds, in trains, with the navel of the thing down and the eyes up. Facing, facing, facing in seed boxes, and place in full light in warmth. That will produce the eye, and the eye will not run. The potato will go violently green, as it should, and become highly poisonous.
When you are ready to plant, prepare your soil deeply and allow ample room, for you have got to increase these intensive beds by hoeing; got to. You’ve got to produce this structure as big as that for your potatoes. Without it you will never get good potatoes. Therefore, you plant your first potato almost at ground level. Your beds are already slightly thrown up into mounds, that high above ground level, shall we say, with ample of the other soil mounded between. So that you’ve actually got a hollow in which you’re planting. You are that much (indicates depth) below ground level when you begin to plant. You take each potato—here you have a bucket with lime, half live- lime, and soot if you can get it. Not oil soot, of course. If you can’t, wood ash. You take a very sharp pruning knife, and you take a little chink about the size of my index finger nail out of the potato at the base, near the navel, not removing an eye. Take it right out, like that and nick it. And you dip the potato in that mixture, and with your trowel—you have, of course, put your fertilization into these beds before and worked it into the soil at the sides.
And you place that potato in, and you allow ample room, more room than you ever dream of, the more room the better. You cover, and if this is the very early, and you’re liable to frost, cover that area with Pteris, bracken. Bracken will refute all injury of frost. Bracken will refute all injury of scorch. It’s an incredible disinfectant. It is the only thing to mulch a strawberry bed with, if you must mulch. Never mulch a strawberry bed. Allow the weeds to grow; they’re essential to the strawberry.
That potato will come through, and the moment it is through, say a couple of inches, you go down the sides with your trowel on either side, and you bring the soil, mounding over, entirely bury the growth; but just, not upper, just. Cover the growth the whole way along so you’ve started to get a pyramidal form. That you must go on with ad-infinitum the moment they are through.
Now let us just look at what we’ve done. Why bother with the chich out and the dip in that mixture? The parent potato, when it’s planted, is an egotist, like we all are. And so when it makes the plant, which it does first, the roots come off the plant, not off the potato, remember. The potato does not make roots. It comes off the plant. And all of the babies are going to come off the roots, not off the parent. You have to look at that, it’s very important. It’s totally different to other plants, like dahlias, totally different.
Now, if the potato were put in whole, it would be quite happy and make the plant and start to make roots, and the more it made the plant and the root, the happier it would be. It would sit down in the arm chair, smoke the pipe, get out the caviar and say, “Isn’t life wonderful?” And would go on like that ad-infinitum.
However, it’s had an operation. And what’s more it’s had some lime, and some soot in the operation. Now that wound, if it didn’t have the lime and the soot, would rot very quickly. The potato is inclined to rot in the soil, with a wound, very quickly. But the lime is a disinfectant. But during the period that the disinfectant of say, six weeks, it is also an eater. And so it is eating into the area which would otherwise be bacterial disintegration. Therefore, after six weeks it’s become venomous to the parent. And it attacks the parent, and destroys it, and it rots. The moment the potato is rotting, the plant and all the roots say, “Hans! Father’s dead!” And the plant says, “Don’t worry, children! Jeeves, children!” And it immediately starts to think of blossoming and producing all of the children on the roots, which come in this way, at least six weeks, or even in many cases two months before they would.
Now this earthing up is that the children adore to be right next to the sides. You must know how potatoes love to get out of the soil and sit in the Sun and become un-edible with Solanum poison. And they are very poisonous. Just like the rhubarb leaf. Even a green tomato can be quite poisonous. That’s why they should never be picked unripe; it is monstrous to behavior. That unripened poison does not depart. Oh boy, I do go off the track. Therefore, this earthing-up must go on until the potato is in bloom.
Now the stages of collection are—that’s for the early potatoes—the moment it has bloomed you may use the potatoes. They’ll only be that size if it’s the little kidney potatoes, or the little, tiny French one. You don’t want size. Plenty of mint, and cook with the utmost care, a few minutes only, and the skin just falls off.
The next one is the middle area. These must bloom and begin to turn yellow. When a yellowness has invaded the plant, you may lift. With the late potato, all of the lates—which includes your ‘Russets’ and such, and the old ‘Edward’. With those potatoes, you must allow them to bloom, to go yellow, and to die right down. The whole of it must go absolutely brown. You then may lift.
In all cases of lifting potatoes it is dangerous in California because of scorch. But they are very well ripened for a little while on the ground. So if you can choose a dullish day—you see you couldn’t do that in scorch with your earlies and middles. But it adds an enormous flavor, that ripening of the potato is very important. Do you understand, for instance, with all your apricots, peaches and nectarines, and figs, do you understand that there is a moment, only, there’s only one moment, usually on a certain morning, when all of the acids turn to sugars. And that only with the supply of juices and the performance of the planets with the flow of the juices does that sugar- ization happen. It very much also concurs with strawberries and berries. But particularly in the stone fruits.
If you ever pick any of those fruits before the acids have turned to sugar, they never work. You cannot ripen any of those stone fruits once they’re off the tree. The acids do not turn to sugars. Therefore, the whole calumny of today there is nothing that is sold, literally, today, that is reasonable to eat, at all.
The principle plants for the composting, and to create the compost and the stratification for these beds: when I spoke about those stratifications, some people would say, “Oh, my gosh. As if I have every day of every week to put into the garden.” You may use, naturally, that basis of the stalks, an excellent drainage; and your hot bed or your coolth bed for summer or winter. And on to that you may place an entire constitution of a third, a third, a third2 on your bed. You don’t have to worry about the other starts if you don’t want to. They’re a little bit persnickety. They’re artistic. Every little touch that you give in the garden makes an enormous difference. And you want to lead into more and more of that.
Therefore, these are the particulars and some of them are vastly particular. You will see that you must have a ley area. Everybody who has a garden must think of a third of that area for ley to produce composts. Even though you grow an enormous amount of weeds where you shouldn’t. In my language, where you should.
Urtica dioica (stinging nettle), one of the most important of all: the most invaluable compost maker, the most beautiful texturizer. And you must look at this matter concerning the word humus and textures that produce capillary. It is the texture of compost. All the different composts made of different herbs have totally different textures. What is the miracle of clover, grass, turf loam? It’s not comparable to any other soil in the world. This turf loam is a magic. There’s no other soil that comes anywhere near turf loam. And you have to look at it. We’re just inclined to say, “Well no, my soil’s not very good. How is yours?” That is incredibly stupid.
So, Urtica dioica, or Urtica pilulifera (Roman nettle), either of them, excellent, easy to grow. Grow under a hedge, anywhere; in the shade, in a ditch.
Pteris, bracken. Alfalfa, Lucerne, twenty percent protein; two percent more than any beef and seventeen percent more in protein than milk. Sainfoin (Holy hay, Onobrychis), the most important ley plant in the world. Nobody knows it. You can grow it in the most desolate, dislocated, adjunct, idiotic area imaginable. Like this. Anyway, if you came here before there was anything, and you had seen this derelict soil, exposed, and you said, “Nope. What shall I do?” I would have said, “Sainfoin.” Plant it with sainfoin and within five years you would have the most articulate soil that you can get in the world. It’s a perennial. It will grow for forty years. You can crop it five and eight times a year. The compost is incredible. It creates bacteria.
I forgot a most impeccable matter, that in the formation of those beds, and in the soil you must never leave out the composite of bacteria. The bacteria of those five principles being: the clovers, the Vicias, the Vicia sativa, the perennial Vicia, three sativas in particular. Most of all the fava bean (Vicia faba). The fava you can cut off, compost all the top, and this is a complete negative to all botrytis, and has more of the bacteria on the root than any other.
Lupinus, the little annual Lupinus (lupines) creates quite a lot; and of course, the pea family. In other words, the pea family, the bean family, the principle and utmost are fava bean. You can never grow enough fava bean.
Whenever you have the two dangerous illnesses of the tomato, fusarium and verticillium—I had it in Santa Cruz terribly—I grew fava bean in the same area in the winter. I cut it all off and composted it. I dug all the bacteria into the trenches. I work all of the compost of the bean back into the beds, and I never had any botrytis, verticillium or fusarium again, ever.
So, all the clovers, certain of the Menthas, which are very disinfectant, particularly Mentha acquatica (water mint). You must realize that some of these in the soil have a huge matter in the gas as insect dis-relation, and in the growth of the plant as insect dis-relation.
The bark and twigs of Quercus (oak), and certainly the flush of all of the Fagus (beech), including the little beechnut. Not much to be had beside, but you can grow a Fagus here.
Symphytum, the Sorrels, Nasturtium, Equisetum (horsetail), principally burned, it produces potassium. Many of the ferns—particularly the Osmunda—Fenugreek, Senecio (groundsel) and Sonchus. Stellaria media (chickweed), one of the utter importants; it contains all of the chemicals you can ever create, or think, or have known names of.
Melilotus (clover), lotus, sometimes known as Lady’s Slipper, there’s the one that creeps along. Medicago denticulata (M. polymorpha), very important one. Chenopodium auridum, and many of the Chenopodiums. The Amaranthus hypochondriacus (Prince-of-Wales feather), and others of the Amaranthus. Armeria, in particular. Armeria grown by the sea (sea pink) produces intense iodine, and Armeria grown inland produces intense potassium.
Forgive my using vulgar, stupid, idiotic names that don’t imply anything.
Plant Borago (borage), and above all, in all of those beds, no matter what else you plant, for our own beneficence, and for the whole beneficence of the garden, and the good behavior of dogs and cats, plant vervain (Verbena).
Q: Inaudible question.
And this is exactly why the whole of the herbs have gone into disrepute. For this very reason: that the plants are not known any more. Everybody invents some stupid name and they pick up a totally different plant and say, “Chenopodium.” And I say, “But that’s not Chenopodium“. And they say, “Well, that’s what I call Chenopodium“. And you give it to somebody to cure something, and it does the opposite. They have to go to the toilet all day.
So, botanically, in books, do you understand there are what are called common names? It’s a family of goosefoot? But, you see, you will have in America, all sorts of plants called ‘goosefoot’.
Do you see what I mean here? So I only research one name. You can look that up in any true, classic book and you’ll find you’re right.
The herb garden of the world, where every herb is grown en suite. And that for all of the library of the ancient books, and all the names, you realize, most of the names of the Celtic and the facts, we don’t know what they are. You see, Broadway—if you say Broadway to anybody, they say, “What, New York?” But this, of course, is major, minor and middle Plantago (plantain).
Do you see also, you must look that this changing of periods, for instance when the French, the Norman Invasion of England took place, say, like Hitler would have done, they were so angered with the enormity of the past, do you realize that at that period of the Saxon movement, they had a hundred times more plants than the whole of Europe had in culture. Most people don’t realize
this. It’s a very astonishing fact. And then, Europe simply waltzed away with it. And England went out of fashion altogether. Until I came into view. (laughter)
Anyway, Chenopodium, which is one of the goosefoots, and you can’t call it lamb’s quarters, because that’s another plant altogether.
Now, do you see, in this herb garden that I’m relating to, you must have a card from the library. You must all work at this. You must get your Indian pens and your ink, you must get your paint brushes and your colors, and you must make your colors from the herbs and from the soil. And you must have illustrae, endless, endless illustrae. All the little roots, the stalks, the hairs, the anthers, the pistils, and the notification of if it is medicinal or culinary, and its relationship. Do you follow? What a joy this is! And here you escape from entirely those notions, and at last you’re able to say, “I don’t care how much you talk. That’s it!” And it can be in dormancy in the garden, and you will still find it. Alright?
Q: Is there a specific for the culture of cucumbers in the stratification?
Yes, distinctly. Cucumber, governed by the Moon, therefore, you understand that it is virulent to the performance of water. It should never be planted in the soil. The raised bed should be above ground level and should definitely be even set on…it’s superb, on stone, or little wooden rafters. Do you follow? The bed? And it should be well composted, rich manure; preferably pig.
Next to that: sheep or cow, and then rabbit or goat; not horse, ever. And that should be thoroughly mixed as a lower stratification with a small amount of turf loam and a great deal of sharp (sand). The cucumber should be placed in a little dell in the mound. That is the perfect way to grow the cucumber. Again, you can certainly use in your compost in that soil, with the turf loam, Chenopodium auridum, for they love extravagant feeding. Is that what you wanted to know? Water frequently and evenly.
Q: In what plants should I use horse manure?
Horse manure should always be used only below the soil, never near the surface. It’s too much of a burner. And I think that I can answer you perfectly simply by referring to Pliny. Pliny says every domesticated animal’s manure is almost useless. You see, it’s incredible. What a wonderful thinker; and all of a sudden you’ve got everything, you know, the whole key fits the doors. Therefore, it depends where the horse lives. So if you go to the prairie and collect the original horse manure, you’ll find that it’s, you know, it’s just like using goat. And in some cases where you want what you call a very hot burning, therefore, I use it myself, very much, to feed the hot-beds, on the frames, and in the trenches. For the early pea, nothing like it. It will produce a vehement amount of peas.
Archive ID: CA1031
Title: Raised Beds
Date: 01 May 1978
Location: Saratoga Community Garden, CA