The start of something out of the ordinary, sustainable and inspirational!
Flower of life garden
My husband was reading the book: The Ancient secret of the Flower of Life by Drunvalo Melchizedek where I was facing the cover numerous times. I became intrigued by the design and wanted my garden to be a flower of life. For more than just the pattern but for the symbolism and connection to life and growing one’s food and medicine. Also creating the ideal place to spent time while giving yourself a sensory overload of smells and sounds and beauty to enjoy.
The area I chose was used for grazing sheep and therefor is still in very good condition without the use of fertilizers and other chemicals. The original plan was to plough ( just once) to try and level the soil. We ploughed and afterwards there were even less even soil and different grass species came up and almost took over, this will also be one of my biggest challenges… getting rid of these unwanted grass without the use of poison.
And so the start of phase 1, the land was rotivated, which is an implement that has blades that rip and turn the soil, leaving it aerated and full of organic material. This was only necessary because one could not really walk on the land and it was uneven and full of tall grass varieties and other unwanted plants. The pictures below shows the rotivated land. The size of the plot is 22m x 48m. Phase 1:
Phase 1 is to show how I went about to achieve easy workable and sustainable raised beds using Biological farming practices.
Here it is clearly visible that the soil is aerated and full of organic material. This is a good start when preparing a growing medium. The next step would be the design layout and then creating the raised beds.
The ideal would be to create raised beds from moving a bit of soil around and manipulating it into a small heaps. My original plan was to draw the whole pattern on the desired area and start the raised beds. Grass started growing again so I had to abandon this approach and go on to first mulch the area and get the grass under control.
Above you can see that the area was marked out with lime and wooden droppers to outline the pattern.
I hope you are as excited as I am for the end result.
Well that was the eager start of my garden, it was really easy to get this far in a short period of time. Remember also that the section of land I chose is considerably bigger than the average home garden. Seeing that I have the space I have decided to utalise as much of it as possible.
Grass coming up faster as what I can create the beds must be addressed first. Therefor I need mulch. There is a large grass field right behind the plot. It was mowed, raked and collected to start mulching the whole area.
My second plan of action, mulch, mulch, mulch…
The next step would be a bit of everything happening all at once, mulching to continue to keep the grass under control, the mulch also keeps the soil underneath relatively wet and weed free. I also started finishing some of the raised beds. The pathways was also mulched with sawdust.
Here you can see that the wooden droppers gives the necessary support to fill the raised bed with mulch.
And so it all falls in to place slowly but surely.
The grass is going to be smothered in the sawdust and then one can establish a weed free pathway.
This really creates a soft path that is very nice to walk on specially when barefoot.
The sawdust is going to help eliminate all growth in the path.
It sometimes seem that the battle against weeds and unwanted grass is never going to be won. This is really going to put Biological farming to the test, mulching is is the natural method and with adding products like EM and Compost tea my garden will be able to jump on the succession scale. In well matured soil weeds don’t thrive as they belong to more pioneer soil. In simple terms we are going to try and achieve maturity by adding the organisms to the soil that is needed to progress.
A bit more about mulching:
This is a term that we use to describe covering soil that is bare and baron, in garden beds or around trees. This can be done with any type of organic matter, grass clippings, well rested manure, leaves, bark, straw , basically any organic matter that is lying around and can be put to better use.
The benefits of mulching is …..
- protects soil from drying out.
- protects soil from natural impacts like formation of hard crust that has insufficient drainage, erosion by wind and water.
- keeps soil cool and protects against the sun.
- if soil is wet and cool earthworms can flourish., mulch is also food for the earthworms.
- mulch inhibit weed growth, thick mulching wont allow weeds to grow. Weeds that does pop up will be easy to remove and can become mulch as well.
I have a never ending battle to fight with the grass coming back , lesson learnt , if you do apply mulch make sure it is really think, it must have a proper suffocating affect to kill the grass.
Here it is visible that the bed has no weeds. In the back is a spinach plant that was discovered in the area and transplanted into a bed, now there is something to benefit from later.
This bed is begging to be planted……..
The lucerne has been rested well and have some fungal growth in it, this is very good for soil preparation seeing that fungi is living organisms.
I just want to include a few photographs of the progress and pattern!