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Sharon's Natural Gardens

A Field as Teacher

Originally published in “Applied Biodynamics”

Sharon Carson gardens biodynamically in Delaware. She and her husband hold numerous educational events on their farm, and have done much to raise the awareness of biodynamics in their area. Recently, they hosted a midsummer camp-out for supporters of the farm — complete with a moonlight tour of the garden, barbecue, a bonfire, music, and homemade pancakes Sunday morning.

Today, I walked to the field across the road to pick some wild larkspur and Canadian thistle for a bouquet. I have a lifetime of interaction with this piece of farmland, now abandoned for the last three years. As a child, I rode past it bareback on my pony, when the blacktop road was only a dirt lane and the house we lived in was the only one on the road.

In the early ‘80s, I took folks across the road so they could see the effects of chemicals on the land and on the soil. For years, only corn and soybeans were grown there, and at times the chemicals used to kill the weeds ended up killing the crops too. Finally, about five years ago, they applied some chicken manure. Then the land was sold for development, since, like much of the farmland around here, it was no longer profitable to farm. It took time for the housing development to get going, so the field was left to nature.

What was fascinating to me was to see the changes that took place on the land. There were spots where nothing grew and other spots with green grass, poke weed, tree seedlings, and patches of wild blackberries. Groundhog tunnels were all over, making it an unsafe place to ride a horse like I used to do when the land wasn’t planted. There were even the ethereal colors of waves of larkspur and black raspberries that had originated from our gardens — brought there by the birds and the wind. The new houses built on the land contrast our organic mini-farm with their landscaped, immaculate lawns and lights installed to show off the investment — such a contrast to our dim solar lights that twinkle like fairies to guide our way at night. Eventually, when the entire field is full of houses with their “insecurity” lights, I doubt we will be able to see the stars anymore.

The field, however, is a teacher of how nature restores herself — if only we would listen.

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