Culture and Horticulture The Classic Guide to Biodynamic and Organic Gardening

Culture and Horticulture: The Classic Guide to Biodynamic and Organic Gardening.

Numerous studies have repeatedly demonstrated that small organic farms and home gardens may produce more food per acre while using less fossil energy than large-scale commercial agricultural installations that rely on machines and hazardous chemical fertilizers and pesticides. This classic book by Wolf D. Storl, a revered elder in the field of permaculture, recounts how traditional societies around the world grow food healthily and attractively, and demonstrates how to apply their ancient wisdom to our own gardens.

With interest in natural, sustainable, organic, and local food at an all-time high, people are expanding their search beyond farmers’ markets and CSA cooperatives to hyperlocal methods of growing nutritious, delicious produce in urban gardens and their own backyards. Culture and Horticulture describes time-honored techniques that remain as successful today as they were hundreds of years ago. On a more practical level, the book functions as a guide for cultivating and preserving an abundant harvest. It explains how to maintain fertility in the soil; how to plant, sow, and care for various fruit and vegetable plants; how to rotate crops and practice companion planting; how to create a favorable microclimate; how to deal with weeds and pests; how to harvest vegetables and herbs at the proper time; and finally, how to store vegetables and herbs. Special focus is placed on the art and science of composting, which serves as the “heart” of any self-sufficient garden and serves as a metaphor for the life, death, and rebirth cycle.

Simultaneously, the reader is introduced to horticulture’s broader facets, its historical, philosophical, and cosmological backgrounds, as well as its social significance. Gardening is a cultural activity that is molded by the thoughts, desires, and requirements of individuals as well as their cultural traditions. The author, an anthropologist by training who has studied indigenous people’s gardening practices worldwide and worked on biodynamic farms and in his own food garden for many years, will introduce the reader to Rudolf Steiner’s vision of the garden as an organic unit embedded in the context of terrestrial and cosmic forces. Storl discusses the significance of cosmic rhythms (solar, lunar, and planetary), the biodynamic herbal preparations’ role as “medicines” for the garden organism, and the so-called “etheric” and “astral” energies. The book depicts the garden through the lens of “Goethean science,” as a magical location where material substances undergo alchemical changes.